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Beavers: Understanding Nature's Architects

Forestry Events - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 12:00 PM
On August 22nd, the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council welcomes Vanessa Petro, Oregon State University Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society Faculty Research Assistant, for our August 2017 Science Pub presentation entitled Beavers: Understanding Nature’s Architects. Ms. Petro will discuss research findings on topics such as beaver landscape genetics, relocation responses and home range estimates for studies recently conducted throughout Oregon. Her presentation will elucidate the realities of working with beaver in stream restoration and the knowledge gaps that still remain regarding beaver populations in Oregon. To find out more about this event, click here!

Dry Farming Collaborative Field Day

Small Farms Events - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (all day event)

More than ten Dry Farming Collaboratize members will be hosting tours for our field days in August! Come learn about dry farming, see crops (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, corn) grown without any supplemental irrigation in the field.

SAVE THESE DATES:

  • August 1st - Corvallis
  • August 8th - Springfield
  • August 15th - Southern Oregon
  • August 22nd - Elmira/Veneta
  • August 29th - Philomath/Corvallis

For more details about each day or to register visit http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/dry-farm/dry-farming-collaborative

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Preparing for thinning

Tree Topics - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 5:33pm

By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

This month we have been spending some time at the Matteson Demonstration Forest getting ready for a commercial thinning project. The actual logging will happen next summer, but we are taking care of road improvements, surveying property lines, laying out the harvest boundaries and marking the stand now, so that we are ready to go when the contractor is available.  OSU forestry students who are summer interns with the OSU Research Forests gained hands-on experience by doing a lot of this work.

OSU Research Forests staff Brent Klumph and Steve Fitzgerald, and interns Becca and Zane discussing harvest layout

This will be a cut-to-length project. A processor will travel corridors through the stand, reaching in and cutting selected trees, limbing and bucking them all in one process. There are many advantages to this type of harvest system. For example, the machinery travels over the bed of slash it produces, minimizing soil disturbance.  Also, cut-to-length is efficient in terms of time, labor and precision cutting of the logs to maximize scaling. Some of the disadvantages are that it requires advance planning, there are relatively few operators often booked out far in advance, and the fixed costs are relatively high.

Here’s a video of one type of cut-to-length machine working.

At Matteson, we will be treating about 29 acres of Douglas-fir plantation about 30 years old. Because of our education and demonstration mission, we will implement several different prescriptions in different treatment areas across the acreage, for comparison.

Getting some numbers

The first thing we needed to develop our thinning plan was some stand data. We have installed a network of 0.1-acre permanent inventory plots across the property, and eleven of those plots fall in the area to be thinned.

The plot data showed that on average, the stand density is about 250 trees/acre and most trees are between 9 and 14 inches DBH.  Putting each plot on a density table, we see that most of the stand is in the “Danger Zone” meaning that it is too dense. Ideally, thinning should have been done a few years ago.

This diagram shows how stand density, tree size, and competition interact. For an explanation of the different competition zones, see a previous post. Each blue diamond represents one of the inventory plots in the stand to be thinned. Diagram credit: B. Withrow-Robinson

Aside from the numbers, visual cues tell us that the stand is in the Danger Zone. There is very little vegetation on the ground, the trees’ live crowns are receding to around 1/3 of the total tree height, and there is scattered competition-induced mortality.

Developing prescriptions

Our objectives with the thinning are to produce income, improve stand health, and set the stand up to produce high quality timber in the future. We also want to show how thinning can be implemented in different ways, to achieve different objectives.

Over most of the unit, we chose a “future pole” thinning prescription.  Poles have high value, but trees must meet exacting specifications. In essence, this treatment involves cutting trees that will never make a pole because of defects such as spike knots, double tops, or too much sway in the trunk. Any tree that has pole potential (straight, few knots, etc.) will be left, regardless of crown class. If this prescription results in areas that are still too dense, then those areas will be thinned from below; if it would leave areas too sparse, then in those areas some non-pole trees will be left.

In this sample marked area, the painted trees are to be cut.

We set aside a few demonstration areas for other prescriptions.  We’re still working out the specifics of these alternatives, but we have a few ideas we are working with. One is a standard thin from below, removing the smallest/most defective and leaving the remaining trees as evenly distributed as possible. For example, out of each group of four trees two would be cut. This would remove half of the trees (but only about a third of the volume) and leave the remaining trees with plenty of room to grow. I estimate that most of the stand would move to the “Lower Goldilocks” zone under this scenario (not too dense, not too open, “just right”: see above table). However, one of the concerns about thinning an overly dense stand is that the trees left behind are unstable when too many of their neighbors are cut. So if we wanted to be more conservative and do a lighter thin, we could cut two of every five in the same way. But, this would be less profitable and also mean that the stand would close up again very soon.

Either of these prescriptions would be easy for us to mark and for the operator to follow. However, they perpetuate a uniform, plantation-style stand with low structural diversity. What if we wanted to mix it up? One idea is to thin from below with a diameter limit: cut anything 11” DBH and smaller, and leave anything 12” DBH and larger. Exceptions to the rule could be made, for example if a 12” tree has a defect and an 11” tree next to it has good form, the 12” tree would be cut and the 11” tree would be kept. Because this prescription is based on tree size rather than spacing, we’re expecting it would result in a patchier arrangement of leave trees that would still have plenty of room to grow.

Going further, we could do a “structural diversity makeover” thin, to demonstrate a way to actively move a uniform plantation to a more diverse forest. We could thin from below across most of this area, but then cut all the trees in a few gaps, to encourage understory vegetation or even tree regeneration. We could even strategically place these gaps in places where there is already a hardwood shrub or two. Because the processor needs to cut 12-foot corridors to travel through, and can reach in 30 feet on either side, we could also place our gaps along the corridors. Finally, we can create snags, by marking trees for the processor to cut up high – like 15 to 20 feet up. Trees with a defect in the lower bole would make good candidates for created snags.

Finally, a couple small areas won’t be thinned at all, just to demonstrate how that plays out. One of these surrounds an old piece of farm machinery left from one of the homesteads that were on the property. Because this is considered a cultural resource, we want to avoid disturbing the site, so putting our unthinned area around it makes sense.

Blending science and art

It’s often said that silviculture is a blend of science and art. We can look at data and design prescriptions on paper, but ultimately conditions in the stand will also influence what we do. And that is where marking the stand comes in. It’s very time consuming to mark an entire large stand, so the Research Forests crew marked some sample areas of the “future pole” prescription. The contractor will work in these areas first to get a feel for the prescription, then move to unmarked areas. For more complex prescriptions, such as the “structural diversity makeover”, we will probably mark the whole demonstration area (each one less than an acre).

What do you think of these thinning scenarios? Is there something else you would like to see?

The post Preparing for thinning appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Mill Race Water Quality & Restoration Bicycle Tour

Forestry Events - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 2:34pm
Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:00 PM

The Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council will be hosting a bicycle tour of the Mill Race to the Springfield Utility Board drinking water intake located just of the Middle Fork path for an out-and-back route featuring several tour stops along the way. The Mill Race Path is not only an exciting new transportation and recreation option in Springfield, it is also a corridor of water quality improvements being done by a wide range of local organizations.

 Some of the highlights include:

• Mill Race history and significance in community stormwater filtration

• Springfield Clean Water Trailer - learn how you can organize your own clean water work party!

• Youth restoration and water quality monitoring projects along the Mill Race

• Willamalane restoration at the Mill Race pond

• Fish habitat enhancement projects

• Drinking water storage, filtration and water quality

Participants can bring their own bikes, or borrow one from the Springfield School District's Safe Routes to Schools fleet on site. Helmets are required. Please register here, or email restoration@mfwwc.org for more information.

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 2:34pm
Thursday, August 17, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and blog. The project ranch will be the Wilson Farm, the OSU sheep facility with sheep and cattle grazing the pastures. You can also work on your own ranch as a side project if desired. The objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

BCMGA Board Meeting

Gardening Events - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 6:06am
Monday, August 7, 2017 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Benton County Master Gardener board meeting

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 2:38pm
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Pre-registration and a $30 fee per part per ranch is required. There is a discounted price of $120 for signing up for all five parts. Click here for on-line registration. If you do not have Internet access, stop by or call the OSU Extension Linn County office, 541-248-1088 for assistance.


Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and blog. The project ranch will be the Wilson Farm, the OSU sheep facility with sheep and cattle grazing the pastures. You can also work on your own ranch as a side project if desired. The objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

The right trees for urban landscapes

Forestry Events - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 2:38pm
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
The Lane County Master Gardener Association (LCMGA) is sponsoring free monthly seminars. This month, check out The Right Trees for Urban Landscapes with the City of Eugene Urban Forester. The seminar is free, open to the public and no registration required. Class is from 7-8 PM at the OSU Extension Office, 996 Jefferson St. Eugene, (Enter on 10th at the ramp)

Dry Farming Collaborative Field Day

Small Farms Events - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 2:38pm
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 (all day event)

More than ten Dry Farming Collaboratize members will be hosting tours for our field days in August! Come learn about dry farming, see crops (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, corn) grown without any supplemental irrigation in the field.

SAVE THESE DATES:

  • August 1st - Corvallis
  • August 8th - Springfield
  • August 15th - Southern Oregon
  • August 22nd - Elmira/Veneta
  • August 29th - Philomath/Corvallis

For more details about each day or to register visit http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/dry-farm/dry-farming-collaborative

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Protect you home from wildfire workshop

Forestry Events - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 6:07am
Saturday, September 9, 2017 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Indoor & field session. Increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire - topics include defensible space, property assessment, & how to reduce fuels. This class is a “primer” for Citizen Fire Academy at the end of September. Save the date - more info to come!

Many Shapes and Sizes: A Tour of "Good Wood" Management and Products

Forestry Events - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 2:36pm
Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Can a forest be managed for different purposes? Why might one tree be cut and another left standing? How does the way our forests are managed affect the products that come from them? And, do you know where your wood comes from? Join the Build Local Alliance, Forests Forever, Inc., and OSU Extension as we explore these questions on a “Good Wood” Management and Products tour.

At this event we’ll tour the Hopkins Demonstration Forest, a living laboratory for a range of forest types and diverse woodland management just 25 miles outside of Portland. Participants will walk amongst diverse forest ecosystems and learn about management tradeoffs and harvest approaches. Then we’ll head to a small-scale sawmill for a hands-on experience with milling and grading lumber, and discuss how a standing tree becomes a wood product. Forest experts, wood processing professionals, and master wood workers will take us through the wood supply chain, and through it all we’ll be asking the question: What makes a forest product “good”?

This tour is for you if you’re a forest lover, local economy enthusiast, conscious wood worker, DIY land manager, architect or designer of sustainable projects, anywhere in between or just plain curious! Morning refreshments and lunch provided.

Annual Picnic of the Linn Chapter of OSWA

Forestry Events - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 2:36pm
Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

The Linn Chapter of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association invites you (OSWA member and public alike) to join them for their annual picnic. Activities for all ages will begin at 9:00 and include a tour of the property, educational displays and plant identification. It is a great chance to see a well-managed woodland property and visit with friends. The Sallee and Tye family will grill burgers, so please bring a potluck item to share.

For more information contact Bill Bowling 541-791-1370 or email 

Hopkins Community Forest Day

Forestry Events - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 2:36pm
Saturday, August 12, 2017 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
This is your chance to learn by doing a variety of projects in a sustainably managed woodland. Volunteers help with essential seasonal tasks of managing a working demonstration forest.
LEARN BY DOING—IT’S THE HOPKINS WAY WE MANAGE OUR FOREST!
The focus for the summer months is on trail and building maintenance, and trail and road brush removal.
Registration is requested and hot lunch will be provided. Please let us know you are coming to get a count for lunch. Contact Jean at 503-655-8631 or jean.bremer@oregonstate.edu.
For more information contact Peter Matzka at peter.matzka@oregonstate.edu.

Many Shapes and Sizes: A Tour of “Good Wood” Management and Products

Forestry Events - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 2:36pm
Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Join the Build Local Alliance, Forests Forever, Inc., and OSU Extension for an exploration of “Good Wood” Management and Products from local forests.


Background
The Build Local Alliance (BLA) seeks to improve the vitality of local forests and related human communities by connecting local, responsibly grown and processed wood with local projects. The BLA is comprised of forest owners and millwrights, retailers and distributers, designers and architects, craftsmen and builders, developers and homeowners, and other individuals who are interested in developing our local economy through sustainable forestry.
Forest Forever, Inc. (FFI) promotes science-based education to enhance understanding of, and appreciation for the complexities and benefits of woodland management. FFI operates Hopkins Demonstration Forest as an accessible example of sustainable forestry.


Mutual interests of BLA, FFI, and OSU Extension include:
•Sustainable management of local forests
•Forest-related enterprises that add value to the local economy
•Alternative markets for a wide range of wood products
•Improved returns for small scale harvest operations
•Connecting people and enterprises, from forest to finished product
•Improved connections between urban consumers and rural producers
•Improved awareness and understanding of sustainable forestry in Oregon

Registration: The cost is $15. Registration is required. To register BLA will provide eventbrite online registration - coming soon. Questions? Call 503-655-8631 or email jean.bremer@oregonstate.edu .

Dry Farming Collaborative Field Day

Small Farms Events - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 2:38pm
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 (all day event)

More than ten Dry Farming Collaboratize members will be hosting tours for our field days in August! Come learn about dry farming, see crops (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, corn) grown without any supplemental irrigation in the field.

SAVE THESE DATES:

  • August 1st - Corvallis
  • August 8th - Springfield
  • August 15th - Southern Oregon
  • August 22nd - Elmira/Veneta
  • August 29th - Philomath/Corvallis

For more details about each day or to register visit http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/dry-farm/dry-farming-collaborative

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

DCWFN - Farm tour and work party (medicinal herb farm and garlic cleaning)

Small Farms Events - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 2:35pm
Thursday, August 3, 2017 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Viriditas Wild Garden & Foundhorn Gardens, Days Creek, OR
Farm tour and work party (medicinal herb farm and garlic cleaning)

 For more info click HERE

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Terra - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:53am

By Lanesha Reagan

Loud beeps echo down the hall in the Women’s building, signaling the start of a machine the size of a small car that looks like a mechanical spider. I sit in a seat above its many legs, and my heart drops as it goes silent and lifts me higher. A moment later the machine — which scientists call the Six Degree-of-Freedom (6-DOF) motion platform — begins to vibrate and move up and down, from side to side and forward and back.

Luckily, I am strapped in with a seatbelt. The constant vibration doesn’t shake me right out of my seat. However, I do get a tingling in my back. That’s a clue to the purpose of this facility in Jay Kim’s lab. He’s busy trying to solve a major occupational health issue that has shaken the trucking, mining, construction and agriculture industries for decades.

Kiana Kia, a Ph.D. student in Industrial Engineering and Statistics, is studying whole body vibration and occupational safety in Jay Kim’s lab. (Photo: Theresa Hogue)

About 75 percent of workers who operate heavy machinery in these fields suffer from muscle and joint pain. In 2016, Kim and collaborators at the University of Washington and Northeastern University reported that low-back pain was the most prevalent of all the possible musculoskeletal ailments experienced by these drivers.

Kim is an assistant professor of Environmental and Occupational Health in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University. His study is funded by The Alpha Foundation and aims to evaluate the effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) exposure on low-back pain, biomechanical loading and physiological stresses in the musculoskeletal system.

“The study itself originated from a lot of field based epidemiological studies,” says Kim. “They have shown significant levels of exposure to whole-body vibration from moving vehicles, including semi trucks, heavy vehicles, vehicles in construction, mining and agriculture, as well as metro buses. Those exposures have been associated with various adverse health outcomes, including musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the low-back and neck regions.”

Back Injuries Are Prevalent

Studying the impacts of such exposure is only one aspect of Kim’s current study. Another is understanding why long-term exposure is creating these injuries. “We know that there are some links, but we don’t know the physiological evidence and exact underlying injury mechanisms that explain the association,” says Kim.

Legal regulations on exposure limits to whole-body vibration exist in the European Union, but the United States does not have such policies. With only recommendations and no consequences to employers, there is little push to limit workers’ exposure in the U.S. Injury compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders account for the single largest component among all occupational injuries and illnesses in the country. According to Oregon’s Occupational Public Health Program, more than 1,700 cases of musculoskeletal disorders were reported in the transportation, construction, agriculture, and mining industries in 2015.

Near the University of Washington, where Kim received his Ph.D., one large transportation district is paying upwards of $3 million a year in compensation claims regarding lower back pain alone. With self-insured organizations footing the bill, the benefits of implementing new engineering technologies to reduce injuries could exceed the costs.

Jay Kim, left, is an assistant professor in Environmental and Occupational Health at Oregon State University. Kiana Kia, right, is studying whole body vibration and occupational health in Kim’s lab. (Photo: Theresa Hogue)

Bringing something new into the mix, Kim and his team simulate working conditions based on profiles, actual measurements made in mines, construction sites and other locations around the world. The more than 1,200 hours of profiles track the paths of vibrations that drivers experience during their shifts. Some are from as far away as mines in South America.

“The really unique thing is that most lab-based studies have been based upon random vibration or unrealistic sinusoidal (repetitive cycles) vibration,” says Kim. “But here, because we have the large-scale motion platform built with electromagnetic actuators, we can actually feed the vibrations measured from the field to the motion platform. So we can replicate exactly the same motion and vibration that you would feel if you were operating large-scale, heavy vehicles in the mining, construction and agriculture industries and all the way to a passenger car.”

All Shook Up

Kim can program the 6-DOF motion platform to simulate how operators move in all six directions during a work shift. Test subjects experience what it would be like if they were in control of heavy machinery at a mine or in a passenger car on a rough road.

While navigating through potholes or unpaved roads, drivers accept the risk of low-back pain throughout their eight-to-eleven-hour shifts. Prolonged exposure to those types of driving conditions may lead to musculoskeletal pain. The average age of truck drivers is going up, and the industry faces the difficulties of engaging workers to enter a field where their health may be at risk.

One of the main objectives of Kim’s study is to provide physiological evidence that can explain the association between whole-body-vibration exposure and musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the neck and low-back regions. His goal is to contribute to improved engineering interventions (such as seating and machinery design) and better occupational health and well-being for workers.

Volunteer Opportunities

While field studies typically generate data from drivers, Kim is recruiting test subjects for his laboratory-based studies from the university community and the city of Corvallis. Subjects cannot be pregnant, must be between the ages of 21 and 49 and have no current musculoskeletal issues or low-back disability. During the study, subjects will buckle into a truck seat mounted on the motion stimulator for two 2-hour sessions per day. In total, participants will be in the lab for eight hours a day over four days.

As I was being shaken by the 6-DOF firsthand, the feeling that I could tip off at any moment caused my stomach to drop, like it does on carnival rides. However, imagine that workers have to feel that intensity and pressure on their body for up to eleven hours. Going into work daily and knowing my body would be going through that strenuous experience would be difficult. It was exhilarating for five minutes, but five hours would be a whole other story.

People interested in being involved in this study can contact Kim, director of the Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Lab, at oeb.lab@oregonstate.edu.

Editor’s note: Lanesha Reagan is a senior in English from Snohomish, Washington. She is also a member of the OSU Division 1 Women’s Volleyball team.

The post Rock ‘n’ Roll appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Dry Farming Collaborative Field Day

Small Farms Events - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 2:35pm
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 (all day event)

More than ten Dry Farming Collaboratize members will be hosting tours for our field days in August! Come learn about dry farming, see crops (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, corn) grown without any supplemental irrigation in the field.

SAVE THESE DATES:

  • August 1st - Corvallis
  • August 8th - Springfield
  • August 15th - Southern Oregon
  • August 22nd - Elmira/Veneta
  • August 29th - Philomath/Corvallis

For more details about each day or to register visit http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/dry-farm/dry-farming-collaborative

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

BCMGA Board Meeting

Gardening Events - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 6:13am
Monday, July 3, 2017 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Benton County Master Gardener board meeting

CC Master Gardener Board Meeting

Gardening Events - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 6:13am
Thursday, July 6, 2017 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM