Oregon Forests of the Future

Glenn Ahrens, Extension Forester

Glenn Ahrens acknowledged that the issue of climate change and the impact on forests can sometimes be controversial, but amidst the uncertainty of predictions, it is still important for Extension Foresters to address issues that may affect small woodland owners. The following are some take-home messages from his informative talk at our October 24th meeting:

  • Climate is changing and we can expect changes in the forest.
  • Local climate and its relevance is the key to your forestland.

If temperatures slowly rise over time, we can expect a longer growing season, reduced snow pack, longer fire season, competition for water and increased disease such as from bark beetles.

The Extension Forester’s role will be to work with researchers to learn more and integrate climate change and variability as basic environmental information and implement collaborative communication with researchers, educators and practitioners.  The commonality we all have is wanting to manage for healthy forests.  Current topics and programs dealing with this through Extension are:

  • Managing forests for resilience (thin early and often, control grass, remove dead trees to avoid bark beetle, manage hazardous fuels, manage for warmer/drier forest type, and be site specific with planting (plant lighter on dry ridges vs. heavier on lower, moist sites)
  • Assisted migration – human intervention will be required to ensure productive and adapted Douglas-fir forests in the face of climate change. Go to https://seedlotselectiontool.org/sst/ to match seed-lot with planting sites and climate.  Choices: plant native seedling stock within current seed zone,  plant genetically improved seedlings, use a mix of seed origins-local and further south or lower elevation
  • Using the renewable energy from trees for energy
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Oregon Season tracker – using citizen science to gather local information (see page 4)
  • Forest and Climate change blog http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/orforestscc/

Emphasizing the local aspect, Glenn urged us as forest owners to pay attention to what we have noticed over time and manage our forests to reduce stress.

Read more in our November 2017 Forest Forum


Master Woodland Managers Program:

Washington County has many small woodland owners who have qualified to become Master Woodland Managers under the OSU Extension MWM program. These MWM’s have received training in woodland management science and technology, and are available to serve as volunteer mentor/advisors to other woodland owners.

To receive the services of a MWM, contact Amy Grotta at 503-397-3462

Last updated: November 5, 2017 at 14:44 pm