Forks center to host program on long-term forest productivity

The free talk will take place at 7 tonight.

FORKS — Three interns from the Olympic Natural Resources Center will present updates on an experiment at the Long-Term Ecosystem Productivity Site in the Olympic State Experimental Forest at 7 tonight.

The Evening Talks presentation will take place at the Hemlock Forest Room at the center at 1455 S. Forks Ave.

The event is free. Refreshments will be served, and guests are invited to bring a dessert for the potluck.

This experiment is evaluating the effects of harvesting timber in the area, woody-debris retention levels and the effects of various plant species on tree and soil productivity.

This process includes analysis of soil carbon, nutrients and structures, along with a survey in plant species diversity.

The presenters will be Katherine Jesser, an incoming senior at the University of Washington majoring in environmental science and resource management with a focus in wildlife conservation and minoring in marine biology. She has volunteered extensively in the areas of environmental science and wildlife.

She will be joined by Allison Erskine, also an incoming senior at UW majoring in environmental science and resource management as well as communications; and Alec Meade, an incoming junior at UW majoring in environmental science and resource management with a focus in landscape ecology.

He brings field survey and data support skills to the team, the ONRC said in a news release.

The experiment site is near Sappho. Principal investigators on this long-term project are ONRC Director Bernard Bormann, Richard Bigley of the state Department of Natural Resources and representatives of Oregon State, University of Oregon, Western Washington University and the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.

The Long-Term Ecosystems Productivity Site project was started in 1995 with funding provided by Forest Service, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, DNR, the National Science Foundation and various universities.

The study is replicated in three other experimental sites across the Pacific Northwest: Willamette National Forest, Siskiyou National Forest and Siuslaw National Forest.

The basis for the experiment is that forest productivity needs to be there for current and future generations, the ONRC said. Future timber production and landscape objectives are a major part of the study from the individual stand scale to the landscape scale.

It was a concern that forestry research experiments that follow development on a few sites over a few years and even up to 10 or 20 years could not accurately extrapolate data to longer development periods.

When trees are on a 40-year-or-more harvest rotation, good data was found to be needed, the ONRC said.

Land management agencies could not accurately predict the effects of management practices on long-term productivity for meeting state and federal laws and regulations.

The local research is part of an effort to provide land managers with new knowledge to help design forest management systems with sustainability that is more certain for future generations.

It is part of ongoing efforts to evaluate and monitor specific sites for 200 years, the ONRC said.

The interns will share their experience on their specific summer tasks.

For more information, contact Frank Hanson at 360-374-4556 or [email protected].

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