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 measure trees like doctors in the emergency room.
“The margin between life and death in the forest can be rather small,” says Oregon State climate scientist Philip Mote. As wildfires widen, insects invade and drought deepens, the razor-thin margin for tree survival becomes ever thinner.
Forest scientist and Oregon State University alumnus Steve Sillett studies and climbs the largest trees in the world.
Air flowing through mountain valleys carries clues about forest health. New monitoring and analytical methods may also improve understanding of the global carbon cycle.