Designation as a regional climate hub may bring added attention to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station laboratory in Corvallis, but the tag doesn’t come with any fresh funding or additional resources.
“There’s very little new money here,” said Robert Mangold, the research station’s director. “We really don’t have any money to do new research.”
Rather, the station has been tasked with repackaging climate change information it’s already producing in user-friendly ways and getting it into the hands of the people who need it most: the farmers, ranchers and forest managers of the Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific Northwest Research Station was named one of seven regional climate hubs Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as part of the Obama administration’s new Climate Action Plan. The secretary pledged to mobilize the resources of the Forest Service and other agencies within his department to find ways to mitigate the effects of a changing climate on crops, livestock and timber.
About 400 scientists, technicians and support personnel work in the Pacific Northwest Research Station, which has 11 laboratories scattered throughout Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The biggest lab, housed at 3200 S.W. Jefferson Way on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, will coordinate the climate hub activities for the Northwest.
“The focus will be on helping farmers and ranchers and forest landowners get the latest scientific information on the effects of climate change and what they can do about it,” Mangold said.
One example might be to bring together data on which tree species are expected to fare the best in the region’s changing climate, he said, and provide it to foresters through workshops, websites, newsletters and any other means available.
The research station will partner with OSU and other regional universities, county extension agents and various state and federal agencies to gather and disseminate the information.