Ongoing Research Benefits Ecosystems and Society

Forests evolve over centuries, and it takes a commitment to long-term research to understand these complex places.


July 24, 2019

Ivan Arismendi and colleagues are currently examining the effects of climate change on trout and salamanders. He notes that the research would have been impossible without having continuous data that extends since 1987 to date.

Arismendi, an assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, says, “I don’t think data exists anywhere in the Pacific Northwest in terms of trout size and population abundances going back so far.”

Catalina Segura’s work in engineering for sustainable forestry benefits from more than 70 years of data collected on Lookout Creek and other streams at the Andrews. An assistant professor in OSU’s College of Forestry, she says, “The depth and breadth of the long-term data makes it possible to understand what’s happening right now, for example, during a drought, and comparing it to data collected decades ago.”

Mathew Betts, a professor in OSU’s College of Forestry and an executive
committee member at the Andrews, studies how landscape composition and patterns influence animal behavior and species distributions.

Recently featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting, his work on the hermit
warbler, a songbird that occupies the old-growth canopy, provides fascinating insights into the effects of climate change in that remote stratum of the forest.

Betts notes that a lot of the work he does at the Andrews tries to answer
the question: Does how we manage the forest influence how well species respond to climate change? “For a climate-biodiversity expert, the management recommendation for climate change has always felt a little ineffectual,” he says. “If we see a species in decline because of climate change, emitting less carbon globally, for example by driving less, appears to be the only solution.”

It would be a much bigger deal if research provided alternatives we could practice at the local watershed level, adds Betts. Longterm data collected at the Andrews allows him to better understand how climate change will affect species in the Andrews Forest and beyond.

Hermit warbler (Photo: Frode Jacobsen)

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