old growth

Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

The world took notice of the summer's fires in the Amazon region of Brazil.  The tropical rainforests are often called "the Earth's lungs" for the oxygen they supply. 

Far less notice is taken of the fate of rainforests in temperate zones, including in the Pacific Northwest.  Logging continues on both sides of the US/Canada border, and that concerns a pair of scientists well-versed in the workings of those forests. 

Jens Wieting is with Sierra Club BC and Dominick DellaSala is with GEOS Institute based in Ashland. 

suju/Pixabay

Science has a better grasp over time of how old-growth forest ecosystems work.  But the study area is relatively small, given how much of the ancient forests of our country have been cut down. 

Joan Maloof heads a nonprofit seeking ancient forest protection.  She is also a writer, as with Nature's Temples: The Complex World of Old-Growth Forests

Matt Betts/Oregon State University

Any discussion of forestry in Oregon usually gets around to old growth forests.  As you follow the debate over cutting or preserving them, you may wonder how to FIND them. 

The group Oregon Wild and one of its staffers address that query, in the book Oregon's Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide.  Author Chandra LeGue provides details, pictures, and more on places with ancient trees, from the damp forests of the coast to the high and dry areas further east. 

Old-Growth Forest Defender Explains Terms

Dec 5, 2016
TJ Watt/Wikimedia ID 10369356

The term "old growth" is one often used and perhaps less-often understood. 

Just big trees?  Big trees and spotted owls? 

No and not quite are the answers; Joan Maloof provides a bunch more in her book Nature's Temples

Maloof is the director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, dedicated to preserving forests undisturbed by humans from coast to coast. 

Cooler Shade From Older Trees

May 16, 2016
Miguel V./Wikimedia

Trees make hot days a little cooler.  Well duh, you might say, everyone knows that shade from trees is good. 

But a newly-published study from Oregon State University shows that the quality of the cooling depends on the kind of forest. 

Specifically, old-growth forests with tight canopies and dense undergrowth appear to offer more cooling than single-species tree plantations, a distinction that could matter more as the Earth warms. 

Ending Old-Growth Logging

Jul 7, 2014
Nicholas_T/Flickr

The most contentious portion of the debate over forest management concerns old-growth timber. 

Can the timber industry be healthy without cutting down ancient trees? 

Scientists, including Dominick DellaSala at Ashland's Geos Institute, say yes. 

Geos and other organizations just teamed up on a study showing that old-growth logging could be phased out in Alaska's Tongass National Forest in just six years. 

BLM/Wikimedia

Throw another log on the fire of debate over proper use of forests in the region. 

Scientists from here and Germany just released a study making the case for the benefits of leaving trees standing. 

Our region is right smack in the middle of a band of temperate rainforests from the Redwoods to Alaska.