The recent public session held by Oregon State University's College of Forestry left me with a glimmer of hope that the Corvallis community is waking up to the obsolete and archaic land management practices that have created the McDonald/Dunn Tree Farm.
While the OSU forestry program is still mired in 20th century clear-cutting and slash burning of the McDonald, the community is recognizing that OSU's forestry program has strayed far from what science tells us is the socially and environmentally appropriate way to manage the McDonald/Dunn.
In 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan was developed by a panel of leading scientists — including scientists from OSU. The plan called for retention of all older forests and the eventual return of more mature forests. The plan has indeed meant the end of vast clear-cuts of mature federal forests in Oregon.
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One might think that as an institution of higher learning, the OSU College of Forestry would have adopted this science-based approach to achieving healthy forests. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. OSU's forestry program has instead rejected the science and embraced short-term profit based on industrial logging practices. The result is a McDonald/Dunn tree farm with little ecological integrity remaining.
And now that we know that these logging practices are the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in Oregon, perhaps voices of the Corvallis community will grow louder, calling for more sustainable forest practices that will help — rather than hinder — our efforts to fight climate change before it's too late. One can only hope.
Corvallis (Sept. 1)