Changing with the times: The Future of Forestry Degrees?

IMG_2324Our forestry program at Cal Poly, along with many other programs nationwide, is looking to the future and working to identify programatic changes that will support the ever-evolving industry while also engaging the students these industries will be dependent upon in the future. Forestry programs have seen diminishing enrollments over the last few decades despite the ample job opportunities available to graduates. So, what gives? Well, cultural, social, and political drivers along with an increased understanding of ecosystem dynamics is challenging forestry programs to be innovative and to alter the structure of the curriculum.

At Cal Poly, we are working to identify the drivers of student interest and hoping to make changes based on these interests. Please help us make progress and positive change by participating in this survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NNP8R8G

Reposted from: sarahbisbing.com

Trees on the Move? Debating Assisted Migration in Climate Change Mitigation

Tree Crossing. Borrowed from Clint Peters.

Tree Crossing. Borrowed from Clint Peters.

By Sarah Bisbing

Trees on the move?! I know you’re thinking, “Come on, Sarah. Trees can’t move.” And, generally, you would be correct in that statement. Tree species are now, however, in a position where movement may be necessary for survival under changing climatic conditions. How trees will move is under debate within the ecological community, but why trees will move is accepted as a survival strategy related to the adaptation of species. Continue reading

Embracing other perspectives to aviod tunnel vision in your research

Cows grazing near aspen in MPB-killed lodgepole pine forest.

By Kristen Pelz

This past summer, I attended a meeting about aspen ecology and management. I presented my thoughts about how aspen (Populus tremuloides) will respond to widespread lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) mortality caused by mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae). I was nervous and excited to present to a small group of accomplished scientists and high-level managers from around the country. I thought I had a complete theory about why aspen had not increased in the way we had expected following a 1980s MPB outbreak that I studied for my Master’s thesis. But, meeting and talking with many people really broadened my perspective and reminded me—once again—about the importance of avoiding tunnel vision in research. Continue reading

Early Career Ecologist Profile: Meet Sarah Bisbing

I study trees. I’m an ecologist. Oh, wait. I’m a scientist.

This is something I remind myself of nearly every day. And yet, this statement still catches me off guard at times. Let me tell you a bit about myself, and you’ll understand why.

Continue reading

Early Career Ecologist Profile: Meet Kristen Pelz

Hi, everyone – I’ve written a couple posts, but I need to introduce myself.

Like many of you, my academic/professional interest in ecology is intertwined with my upbringing and appreciation for the natural world. Continue reading

Shifting climate, altered niche, & a dynamic conservation strategy for PNW yellow-cedar

Yellow cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) decline on west Chicagof Island in southeast Alaska. Photo courtesy of Paul Hennon, USFS, 2012.

By Nate Hough-Snee

Yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) has been rapidly declining across Central British Columbia (BC) and Southeast Alaska (AK) for the last couple decades. Continue reading

What is the future of ‘Colorful Colorado’?: A Glimpse into Sudden Aspen Decline on the Western Slope

Colorado Quaking Aspen. Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons License, 2012.

By Sarah Bisbing and Kristen Pelz

Following a summer of record high temperatures and extreme drought, we bet you’ll have a hard time imagining the feel of a cool, autumn day. For just a minute, though, let’s go there. Imagine: cool, crisp mornings; piping hot soups and apple pie; thick, wool sweaters; and (our favorite) the true mark of fall’s arrival – the turning of leaves and the coloring of our forests.

Although the eastern U.S. is renowned for its fall color, the western U.S. has its own colorful gem. The quintessential player in fall coloring of the western U.S. is quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). Continue reading