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November 04 2011


July 26 2011


1993 US Northwest Forest Plan Turns Public Forests into Carbon Sink

US Forest Management Plan has not only saved old growth forest, at has turned the forest into a carbon sink

Enacted in 1993, before climate change was so prominent in the public media eye, the US Northwest Forest Plan’s primary goal was the conservation of old growth forests on public land, and thereby also protecting threatened and endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl. Forest harvests in those public forests dropped precipitously, by 82%, the next year. Nearly two decades later, it turns out that the Plan has yielded unintended, though no less favorable results in terms of mitigating the effect of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Northwest forests on public lands are now taking up more carbon dioxide via respiration than they put back into the atmosphere, and have become a significant net carbon sink for the first time in decades as a result, according to researchers at Oregon State University and the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.

“The original goals of the Northwest Forest Plan had nothing to do with the issue of carbon emissions, but now carbon sequestration is seen as an important ecosystem service,” OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society professor David Turner was quoted as saying in this Science Daily news report.

The researchers used a new system that included satellite remote sensing that enabled them to help better account for tree growth, decomposition, emissions from fires, wood harvest and variations in climate and, as a result, to more accurately simulate ecological processes over large areas.

Logging of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest in the decades prior to the Plan’s passage led forestry researchers to believe that the remaining forest had lost a significant amount of potential to store carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions from forest fires turned out to modest as compared to the loss of carbon storage capacity as a result of timber harvesting.

The study has been published online in Forest Ecology and Management.

Photo courtesy of Chandra LeGue for Oregon Wild.

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April 26 2011


Global Catastrophic Amphibian Declines Have Multiple Causes, No Simple Solution

Deformed leopard frog. Infection with trematodes in this leopard frog caused extra legs to grow. (Credit: Photo by Pieter Johnson, courtesy of Oregon State University) ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2011) — Amphibian declines around the world have forced many species to the brink of extinction, are much more complex than realized and have multiple causes that [...]

March 25 2011


Data Streaming in from Space Station to OSU Lab

A coastal imaging instrument called the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean, or HICO, is beaming images from the International Space Station to Oregon State University. (Credit: Oregon State University and the Naval Research Laboratory)   http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153710.htm ScienceDaily (Mar. 24, 2011) — A prototype scanner aboard the International Space Station has been taking new images [...]
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February 28 2011


Climate Change Takes Toll on the Lodgepole Pine

The tall, slender pines, once used widely by Native American tribes as poles for teepee lodges, could largely disappear from the region by the end of the century if current climate trends persist, researchers say.

November 21 2010


Busy Microbial World Discovered in Deepest Ocean Crust Ever Explored

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101119162926.htm ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2010) — The first study to ever explore biological activity in the deepest layer of ocean crust has found bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities, including eating hydrocarbons and natural gas, and “fixing” or storing carbon. The research, just published in the journal PLoS One, showed that a significant number [...]

November 09 2009

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