USDA Forest Service
 

Pacific Northwest Research Station

 
 
 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
1220 SW 3rd Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

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» SCIENCE STORIES

 

Even Fish Need Oxygen

 

Investigating Hypoxia in Rivers Where Salmon Spawn

 

Even fish need oxygen.

Hypoxia: Extremely low levels of dissolved oxygen in water.

When water is hypoxic, the low amount of oxygen can severely damage, and even kill, hundreds to thousands of fish at once.

Fish die-offs that result from hypoxic conditions are well-documented in warm, coastal waters such as the Gulf of Mexico. But similar events can occur globally in both marine and freshwater.

For decades, scientists in southeast Alaska have observed significant die-offs of salmon in rivers before the fish were able to spawn. Some scientists suspected that hypoxia was the culprit behind these events, but it wasn't obvious what would cause hypoxic conditions in Alaskan streams in the first place. Read more>>

 

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire

 

Forest Service Science Protects Public Health by Forecasting Potency and Path of Smoke.

 

Indian Peak. Photo by Kreig Rasmussen.Rain is essential, but floods can be devastating. The same holds true for fire. Fire helps to keep forests healthy, but when it is too big, too hot, and out of control, fire can be catastrophic. Fire is an annual occurrence in some U.S. landscapes, particularly those in the West, and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. In 2016 alone, more than 3,000 wildland fires burned more than 1 million acres across Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. Pacific Northwest Research Station fire science is helping communities live alongside fire. Read more>>

 

The Last (Un-Inventoried) Frontier

 

Field crew working in interior Alaska.If you’re a Pacific Northwest Research Station scientist inventorying forests in interior Alaska, then your daily commute at the moment crisscrosses a remote area the size of Arkansas. This vastness—and the fact that much of the 53,500-square-mile initial study area is not reachable by road—means that forest access must often come by air. Read more>>

 

 


The Value of Forests for People: Integrating An Ecosystem Services Approach into Federal Land Management 

 

National forests provide a broad suite of key ecosystem services including timber, water, recreation, and cultural values. Photo credit USDA Forest Service.From clean water and wildlife habitat to timber and other forest products, recreation, and spiritual and cultural values, healthy natural ecosystems provide a range benefits for people. Increasingly, the value of these “ecosystem services” is being recognized, along with the need to ensure they are available now and into the future. The U.S. Forest Service, with its mission to sustain the nation’s forests and grasslands for present and future generations, is working to incorporate an ecosystem services approach into its programs and activities. So, how might this best be done? Read More>>

 

 


The Future of Recreation

 

Hiking is projected to remain one of the most common outdoor recreation activities in the future.From skiing and hunting to horseback riding and camping, federal lands are key providers of the landscapes and facilities that characterize most Americans’ outdoor recreation experiences. In addition to the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits outdoor recreation provides, it also contributes to the U.S. economy by supporting jobs and providing income, particularly in rural communities near recreation destinations. This contribution was formalized in December 2016 when the Outdoor REC Act was enacted, requiring the federal government to report how outdoor recreation contributes to the United States’ Gross Domestic Product. Read More>>


From Micrograms to Pixels: “Field Guide” Visualizes Smoke Impacts

 

Visualization of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area with a PM 2.5 level of 19 ug/m3.Where there’s fire, there’s smoke—and where there’s smoke, there are air quality concerns. Smoke is made up of a variety of chemical compounds and components, including particulate matter (“PM” for short), which can affect public health and visibility. Typically, when air quality regulators and managers assess potential emissions impacts from a fire, they measure PM concentrations in units of micrograms per cubic meter. However precise, this quantitative system is not necessarily intuitive or meaningful for some of the publics that most need information about smoke effects. Read More.


Managing with Fire: Mixed-Severity Fire Regime Forests in Oregon, Washington, and northern California

 

Repeat photos of the Leecher Mountain area, Methow Valley, WA. The top photo was taken in the 1930s, and dry mixed conifer forests with open canopies and extensive areas of grassland cover are apparent.Fires have always been common during the hot, dry summers of the Inland Pacific. However, most wildfires today are immediately suppressed, while those that escape suppression typically burn with high intensity over large areas.

Historically, fires varied tremendously in their frequency, severity, seasonality, distribution, and extent. Restoring these variations in fire, or pyrodiversity, is critical to maintaining successionally diverse landscapes that are resilient to climate change, invasive species, and other stressors. Read More.


Seven Principles for Restoring Fire-Prone Inland Pacific Forests

 

The top photo was taken in 1934, and large patches of recently burned areas are clearly visible. Patches of young forests are also apparent. The bottom photo is from 2010, after decades of fire suppression. The area that is forested has expanded considerably, as has the density of forests, William Osborne Collection, NARA Seattle (1934) / John Marshall Photography (2010).
Hessburg is lead author of a recent paper that represents a unified vision of landscape restoration, from a diverse group of thinkers. Scientists from leading universities, GOs and NGOs – including the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and The Wilderness Society – contributed to the study. Read More.

 


Genetics and geography: DNA markers identify origin of white oak wood

 

At first glance, white oak trees, DNA, and Siberian tigers may seem to have little in common. But with financial support from the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and Germany’s Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics are linking all three through research that offers a new approach for sleuthing the source of wood products and combating illegal logging. Read More.

 


Native Pacific Trout: Swimming into the Future?

 

Pacific trout, such as this Yellowstone cutthroat trout, are iconic fishes. However, they are threatened by climate change and invasive species. Photo by the National Park Service, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Pacific trout are survivors. Cutthroat trout, golden trout, Gila trout, Apache trout, and others in the Oncorhynchus genus have lived through glaciations, volcanoes, enormous floods, and major shifts in the tectonic plates of Earth – shifts that have created our current mountain ranges and stream beds. Read More.



 

Media Assistance: Yasmeen Sands

 

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Thursday,30November2017 at10:47:28CST


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