What's happening in the forest sector?

Forester Friday: Edith Dooley
02.14.2020

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories.

“Some days I get to wear my analyst cap and dig into the inventory to answer a question for my client and my curious mind. And sometimes I get to wear my hardhat and talk to loggers and watch heavy equipment actively managing the forest! I also love the peace and beauty I get to experience with me, my dog and my truck out in the woods alone,” says Edith Dooley, a forester with the forestry and natural resources consulting company Mason, Bruce & Girard.

Edith, who is one of two foresters who manage the Avery Family Forest, a family-owned tree farm certified through the American Tree Farm System, is this week’s Forester Friday profile. 

Edith has worked in this position for two years, and has spent five years with Mason, Bruce & Girard. Her daily job duties include a mix of both field work and office work. Some of these duties are timber cruising (the process of measuring areas of the forest to determine characteristics such as average tree sizes, in preparation for a timber harvest), building and maintaining hiking trails, and planning timber harvests and commercial thinning logging operations. 

In addition to work experience, education has played an important role in Edith’s career. She discovered forestry in graduate school when she was studying the disturbance ecology of whitebark pine and mountain pine beetle at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana.

For this profile, Edith answered a series of questions about her career in forestry via email. Here are some of her responses.

What is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of my job is its diversity and autonomy. Managing this forest for my client, for my employer, for the local community, and for the forest and the land itself is a huge responsibility that requires constant vigilance for a wide range of aspects, including technical duties and social relationships. Essentially my client and employer trust me to keep on top of all this, and that entrusted responsibility allows me an awesome sense of ownership that I have not experienced to this degree in any other job I have held. 

What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry? 

I knew I wanted a career in natural resources since my childhood camping in national parks with my family. I was even a National Park Service ranger for Halloween when I was 10! I focused on forestry because of the availability and objectives of the jobs available. I really love mycology, but I realized that no one was going to pay me to know about mushrooms. For my undergrad thesis, I wrote about animal behavior studied through bird song. I loved doing the fieldwork, but I became disillusioned with the realization that even if I discovered something striking about how humans were affecting the natural world in a negative way, that knowledge didn’t do anything to fix the problem. I realized I am a do-er. I like to have a good idea and be able to enact it efficiently, and then enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor. This is why working in private industry is a good fit for me, because things move fast, and the market and my employer reward smart, efficient and cutting-edge work.  

What is something you want people to know about your job, and/or the impact of your job?

I want people to know that traditional, long-rotation forestry designed to grow the healthiest, most productive forest with the highest value logs, is alive and well in Oregon! I feel blessed that my client has selected a long-rotation management philosophy, where the time trees spend growing between timber harvests is longer than in typical industrial forestry. That means I get to manage for timber, thereby supporting local supply chains and economies, and manage for climate change by sequestering carbon in the trees while that stand grows to its biological rotation age. I believe that we can manage our forests to support the forest products economy and culture, and the climate.  

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? Any particular place you like to do this activity?

I love skiing and rock climbing. I ski at Hoodoo, which is a hidden gem in the Cascades. Their motto is “Steeper, Deeper, Cheaper” and it’s true, but ssshhh…. don’t tell the Portland crowds! I have also started backcountry skiing. Recently, I have gotten hooked on roped rock climbing, and am looking forward to lots of established routes around Sweet Home.

Edith is just one of many Oregon foresters who help protect forests and keep them healthy and safe for future generations. 

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org.  

 

Oregon's forest health
01.24.2020

Forest health has always been an important topic, but today it’s even more so. Climate change, drought, insect epidemics, invasive species invasions and catastrophic wildfires are all taking their toll on our forests. Forest managers and forest landowners need to keep abreast of the latest on forest health to protect their investments and future timber harvests. 

Lucky for us, every two years a conference called Forest Health in Oregon: State of the State is held at Oregon State University. This year’s conference will be held Feb. 26-27 at the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

The conference will include sessions on:

-tree mortality, drought, weather and climate change

-insects and disease

-biodiversity and forest health

-collaborative groups and forest health in Oregon

-silviculture, forest health and operations

-fire in Oregon

Speakers include researchers, educators, specialists and practitioners from:

-OSU College of Forestry

-OSU Extension Service

-U.S. Forest Service

-Oregon Department of Forestry

-Environmental Protection Agency

-U.S. Geological Survey

-Sustainable Northwest

-Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative

OFRI is a sponsor of this conference, along with the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, the Oregon Tree Farm System, the Northwest Fire Science Consortium and, of course OSU’s College of Forestry and Extension Service.

Please consider joining us for Forest Health in Oregon: State of the State 2020. This will be the third State of the State conference OFRI has been a sponsor of, and I’ve been part of each one. The previous conferences in 2016 and 2018 did a great job of summarizing where we were in various forest health issues. This year’s conference appears poised to continue the trend.

More information and registration here

For the forest,

Mike Cloughesy

Director of Forestry

 

Forester Friday: Jennifer Beathe
01.22.2020

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories. 

“Most foresters wanted to become professional foresters because they enjoy being outside and being physically active. In the practice of forestry, most foresters would agree that no two days are the same.  I like the balance of working in solitude in the forest and working with my forestry colleagues,” says Jennifer Beathe, a forester with Starker Forests Inc.

Jennifer, who designs and supervises the construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure necessary for logging on Starker Forests’ timberland, is this week’s Forester Friday profile. 

She was recently involved in a watershed restoration project at South Fork Pedee Creek in southern Polk County. This ongoing restoration project includes placing log structures in the stream to restore the creek to a sustainable habitat for salmon and trout. The project also includes replacing two culverts that were too small and therefore blocking fish. Specifically, a lower culvert was replaced in September, and an upper culvert will be replaced later this year. All this work is ultimately helping create a better habitat for fish.

Logs in the creek.

The project is a collaboration led by the Luckiamute Watershed Council, Starker Forests, Hancock Timber Resource Group, Forests Forever, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a private landowner. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board awarded the Luckiamute Watershed Council a $121,684 grant to pay for what wasn’t covered by the partners. 

Repairing the culvert at Pedee Creek.

Jennifer answered the following questions about the project via email.

Describe your experience working on the restoration project at South Fork Pedee Creek.

Having worked with the Luckiamute Watershed Council (LWC) on other projects, we knew they would be a good partner. They’re open to suggestions and ideas, and understood that the entire project would take several years to plan and implement. We share the same goal of making improvements to our watershed when the opportunity presents itself. Starker Forests likes to plan and pay for projects on our own lands, and in doing this, groups like the LWC can leverage our efforts for additional grant funding for their portion of the project. The South Fork Pedee Creek project included several landowners, including Hancock Forest Management and BLM.

How did you feel after the project was completed? Were you proud of the work that was done?

I’m always proud to complete a project that involves fish passage and habitat improvement. It’s human nature to feel good about doing things that help wildlife species. I’m pleased that the bridge Starker and Hancock installed will last for 50 years or more and will need minimal maintenance. I’m thankful for the expertise of the hydrologist with BLM, who directed the log placement portion of this project. He is knowledgeable and easy to work with. I’m also proud of our contractor, Mike Adams Construction, out of Stayton. When they do a construction project for us, they also take pride in the work they do. They will do whatever we ask so that we’re satisfied with the project. They also did the log placement work for the Pedee Project, and were excited to do that part of the project too. We’ve worked with them for nearly 20 years, and these long relationships establish trust and understanding so we can accomplish our goals with confidence.

What does this project and others like it do to improve and protect fish habitat? 

While culverts are significantly less expensive than bridges, and an excellent option for stream crossings under roads, bridges can have a longer life span, have less maintenance issues over time, and do better at passing large wood downstream. The log placement portion of the project increases stream complexity, which is great for fish. Increasing stream complexity means that the large logs and wood in the stream divert water flow, which creates pools and provides cover for fish. When you combine that with our riparian buffers for shade and cold water flowing off managed forests, this is great habitat for fish species. 

Why is it important to improve and protect these habitats?

Healthy populations of fish in our rivers and streams is important. The highest-quality water in Oregon comes from forests, including private managed forests. Private forests can and do provide abundant wildlife habitat in Oregon. In particular, private forests can provide habitat for deer and elk, pollinators and songbirds, which nest in our young forests. 

What other projects has Starker worked on to improve fish habitat?

Since the mid-1990s Starker Forests has replaced nearly 100 stream crossings for fish passage as part of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. All this work is voluntary, and the majority of the work we’ve done on our lands we’ve paid for. We’re only involved in grant work when doing larger, cooperative projects with other organizations, like the Pedee Creek project. 

Why does Starker take on these kinds of projects, and why are they important to the company? 

We’ve been in business since 1936, and the Starker family has always believed that the responsibility of owning forestland also includes being a good steward to the land. Being a good steward to our forestlands includes providing habitat for the fish and wildlife species that call our forests home. 

For more information about the South Fork Pedee Creek enhancement project, visit this website

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org.  

The forecast calls for trees
01.22.2020

January in western Oregon is known for its cold temperatures, rainfall and short days. Sometimes we even see snow on the valley floor. While the kids look forward to a potential “snow day” in January, in the forest sector January is known as the start of replanting season.

Seedlings are typically planted from winter into early spring by crews of reforestation workers who plant each new tree by hand. Seedlings are planted while they’re dormant, to take advantage of cool, wet weather conditions that promote good root development.

With the help of training offered by Oregon State University Extension, many small woodland owners do the hard work of replanting on their own. The process starts with sourcing seedlings from nurseries, and includes site preparation, seedling care and handling, planting and maintenance after planting.

Oregon law requires that forest landowners successfully reforest land after harvest. The Oregon Forest Practices Act requires that landowners start preparing the site within a year of harvest and finish replanting within two years. Depending on the site, anywhere from 100 to 200 seedlings must be planted per acre, but foresters typically plant 400 seedlings per acre. In fact, more than 40 million seedlings are planted annually in Oregon.

Reforestation is the cornerstone of Oregon’s forest practices rules. Requiring landowners to promptly replant trees after a timber harvest means future Oregonians will enjoy the same forest resources we do today, including wood products, healthy watersheds, recreational opportunities, and thriving fish and wildlife habitat.

So while cold and rainy conditions may not inspire you to think of Oregon’s forests, these conditions are crucial to the success of the cycle of sustainable forestry, from harvest through reforestation.

For the forest,

Erin Isselmann

Executive Director 

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