The remote rural community of John Day, Oregon, is enjoying a restoration renaissance. The only mill left in the county, Malheur Lumber Co., is humming along with 104 employees working extended hours processing a steady supply of logs from federal forest restoration projects. Restoration work has become an economic engine for the community: Careful thinning of smaller trees increases forest resilience while providing additional material for local industry. And the results are real: Local school enrollment has grown from 570 to 615 students, the highest it’s been in fifteen years. Unemployment has fallen from a high of 14 percent in 2012 to 8.9 percent in 2015. Community leaders hope that more jobs will give the younger generation a reason to stay in, or come back to, the community.
HELENA, Montana – Cooks crowd the kitchen to spice the pot known as the Tenmile Creek watershed on the Helena/Lewis and Clark National Forest.
The city of Helena, Montana’s capital, relies on the 53-square-mile Tenmile watershed as its main source of drinking water for about 30,000 people. The supply system includes almost five miles of wooden flumes and trestles, constructed by the Helena Water Works Company in the late 1800s and purchased by the city in 1911.
Yet the 26,000-acre watershed has the dubious distinction of having the worst conditions of all the national forests and grasslands in Montana and portions of Idaho and the Dakotas, according to a 2011 report, based in part on historic mining and logging activity. [Read more…]
Some plants are homebodies and refuse to thrive in new areas.
“Plants have unique abilities to thrive where they grow, but moving plants outside their genetically adapted environment might cause them not to grow as well,” says Joan Walker, a Southern Research Station research plant ecologist.
The U.S. Forest Service, led by Walker, is partnering with federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and universities across the South to help restore the longleaf pine native plant understory. The South Carolina Longleaf Pine Ground-Layer Common Garden Study compares how well native plant species from relatively wide-ranging geographical regions grew and flowered in a common location.
This multi-phased genetically based project is guiding land managers and producers with choosing suitable seed sources to help restore this valued plant community where native pollinators and threatened and endangered species live. [Read more…]
Extreme fire events are being reported around the world, in some cases involving substantial loss of life and property. Understanding the global pattern of extreme fires, and their relationship with climate conditions and human settlement patterns is a basic step in knowing if extreme fire events are like other natural hazards to which humans must adapt, or if humans have increased their vulnerability by not only building in dangerous environments, but also by increasing fire danger through inappropriate management of fuels and ignitions.Keep reading.
Oregon is setting the pace for the nation in mass timber manufacturing, design and construction.
A new report by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute offers insights from the architecture, engineering and construction communities on this burgeoning trend. [Read more…]
The Waste to Wisdom project is researching how to convert forest residues to bioenergy and bio-based products.
Like this? Learn more at Waste to Wisdom.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide, provide oxygen, create habitat for wildlife, and … fuel jet engines?
A recent Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C. was powered by a blend of biofuel and traditional jet fuel. The biofuel made up one fifth of the mixture. It was created from the limbs and branches left-over after a forest was logged.
Michael Wolcott is the co-project director of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, the group that made the biofuel blend. [Read more…]
Big timber is sprouting up in cities in North America and abroad. After years of feasibility studies and design proposals, buildings six stories or taller constructed primarily from pre-engineered wood products are being considered in cities around the world.
In London, one proposal, called the Splinter, would rise to 100 stories. In Chicago, Perkins+Will (in collaboration with Thornton Tomasetti and the University of Cambridge) has designed an 80-story high-rise with 300 duplex apartments. If built, River Beech—a key component of P+W’s master plan for the Riverline development—would be made almost entirely from mass timber. [Read more…]
Click here to read a case study from Franklin Elementary School in Franklin, West Virginia