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Writings by Andrea Watts

Articles on sustainable forestry, agriculture, and other topics

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Forestry

Counting carbon: Calculating how headwater streams contribute to the carbon cycle

 

 

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
December 2018

Pacific Northwest forests play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Because they sequester atmospheric carbon, they are considered long-term carbon sinks when one is calculating the carbon budget for the region. Yet a forested landscape is more than trees; numerous headwater streams are tucked within the landscape. As these headwater streams transport water downstream, carbon hitches a ride.

This carbon is derived from a number of sources. When leaf litter rots in the stream, carbon is released. Fish and other organisms living in the stream respire carbon dioxide (CO2), and even microbial communities buried beneath the streambanks respire carbon as a byproduct of their metabolism. The amount of carbon exported by these sources, however, is largely unknown. Compared to larger rivers, few data are available on headwater streams and their role in cycling carbon. Read more…

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It’s the Employees

 

 

TimberWest
Sept/October 2018

Step onto a Holbrook operation and you’ll see Jim “Big Jim” Filmore who started with the company as a chaser and is the go-to guy on tough logging sites. Then there’s Jon Gordon who began working in the log yards but is now operating log shovels, and Dale “Big Dale” Gustafson who keeps all of the logging and sorting yard equipment in good working order.

For Holbrook Inc., success has come from the sum of its employees who have kept the company harvesting and moving logs for more than 30 years. Read more…

Finishing a Career with a ScorpionKing

 

 

TimberWest
May/June 2018

Although Ken Wilson, owner of Ken’s Kutting, is approaching a significant milestone in his logging career — next year will mark 45 years spent out in the woods — he isn’t slowing down. Instead, he is prioritizing what’s important in life.

You won’t find Ken or Danny Wilson, his cousin and work partner, working long days because, as Ken is quick to quip, “We’re old and got families.” Read more…

The Recovery of Soil Fungi Following a Fire

 

 

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
June 2018

If all the fungi within a half gram of forest soil were lined up, they would form a line that’s half a mile long. That same half gram of soil includes bacteria that number in the hundreds of thousands. These fungi and bacteria, through their nutrient cycling and other valuable ecosystem services, sustain the forests that dominate the Pacific Northwest. It’s why mycologists joke that trees are the photosynthetic appendages of fungi.

“Fungi play so many critical roles in the soils and for the trees,” explains Jane Smith, a research botanist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. “For example, saprobic fungi decompose plant materials and cycle nutrients that the plants can absorb, and ectomycorrhizal fungi, which colonize roots of trees and shrubs, bring nutrients to the plants in exchange for the carbon produced during photosynthesis.” Read more…

Preparing for the Future and Adapting to the Times

TimberWest
November/December 2017

With over 40 years of working in the Mossy Rock-Winlock area of Southwest Washington, there aren’t many hills that the Lyons family hasn’t logged.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate to [have] spent 30 years in this area,” says Brad, while driving out to the first of several jobsites where his crews are working. When the road crests a hill to reveal a view that encompasses an expansive network of hillsides that are still tree-covered or in the greening-up period, he remarks, “We’re so spoiled working here.” Read more…

Father and Son Carry on Family Tradition

TimberWest
September/October 2017

Being a crew of two means father-son team J.D and J.R. Boehme find themselves switching between equipment and tasks while on a job site, but that suits them just fine.
In fact, a two-man team is keeping with the tradition that began nearly 40 years ago when J.D.’s father, Don, started Boehme and Son Logging Inc. Their motto is Keep it small and keep it in the family. Read more…

Telematics Technology in the Forestry Sector

 

TimberWest
July/August 2017

Telematics technology has revolutionized business operations, and we have come to depend upon real-time global positioning systems (GPS) in our daily lives, whether to track the status of a package, receiving turn-by-turn instructions while driving, or to know when the next bus will arrive. For the logging industry, however, the full potential of telematics technology has yet to be realized. Read more…

When Logging Promotes Conservation

Engineered-Log-Jam-Created-By-White-Zumstein Logging
Photograph by Andrea Watts

TimberWest
May/June 2017

White and Zumstein say taking on the difficult jobs no one else wants can be challenging, but also rewarding and educational. Read more…

There’s carbon in them thar hills: But how much? Could Pacific Northwest forests store more?

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
April 2017

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States annually compiles a report on the nation’s carbon flux—the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere compared to the amount stored by terrestrial landscapes. Forests store vast amounts of carbon, but it’s not fully understood how a forest’s storage capacity fluctuates as stands age or respond to disturbance. Read more…

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