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A Forest Pastiche

Waiting for you in the stillness of Oregon State University’s Valley Library’s fifth floor is an exhibit as richly layered as the forests it portrays. It tells the story of trees as old as Methuselah, of the plants and animals they shade and shelter, and the people who, over time, have used them, studied them, cherished them, explored them, and found in them an irresistible muse.

Notes from a Forest

In environmental science, the H.J. Andrews Forest is a place of beginnings. It’s here that researchers monitor the heartbeat of aging trees, leading to new understanding for the term “old growth.” It’s where studies of an obscure owl shape forest policy, trickling streams become windows on abrupt and sudden events and scientists prod, poke and […]

What It’s Like to Necropsy a Moose

It’s physical and sensual.  It’s not an exercise in hypothetical counter-factuals or wonderings about brains in vats or the playing of a clever devil’s advocate.  It’s hot and uncomfortable and smelly.  You flail in vain at ginormous mosquitos with your forearms and shoulders (because your hands are covered in rubber gloves which are covered in […]

Light on Leaves

Not long ago if you wanted to measure the height of a tree, you had to do trigonometry on the ground — or gear up for a climb. But these days you have a more sophisticated option: beaming lasers from the sky. A revolutionary airborne technology called LiDAR (“light detection and ranging”) is making it […]