|Professor John Bailey, Oregon State University. Photo: OSU|
Professor of silviculture at Oregon State University's College of Forestry John Bailey says, "We need to use the best scientific information that we've developed about how to treat forests. Then monitor these treatments and adapt them based on what we've learned."
In Oregon, the unexpected consequences of years of forest management that included aggressive fire suppression has left our forests in need of ecological restoration to survive inevitable future fires and drought associated with climate change.
Bailey's suggestions are falling on receptive ears across central and eastern Oregon.
Recent Ph.D. graduate James Johnston is working in the Blue Mountains collaborating with local, state and federal governments, forest managers and the public to help them understand the ecosystem drivers and what different things can be expected in different forest types."
On the Malheur National Forest, projects are successful because stakeholders visit the forest together. These outdoor experiences help people learn about the different types of forest vegetation and what their needs are to sustain health.
On the Deschutes Forest, these field tours give stakeholders the confidence to move forward with project plans.
The Deschutes and Malheur Forests are facing insect infestation and severe drought similar to the forests in California. "We know that more than 100 million trees in the southern Sierra Nevada have died in the past few years," says Johnston. "When it's our turn in five to 10 years, perhaps, we need to have landscape-scale restoration done in order to prevent the death of the trees. If we don't, fire will kill them anyway."
Professor Bailey says, "We have the advantage of an engaged public who is excited to hear what we think about wildfire management and because of the way that forests are burning now, we have to continue to scale up our research."
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