The Forest Overstory Podcast
A podcast for small forest landowners
The Forest Overstory is a podcast series dedicated to unraveling forest management topics that impact small forest landowners by interviewing forest land managers, researchers, and fellow private forest owners around Washington.
For more than a century in the Pacific Northwest bigleaf maple has had a reputation as a “weed tree”. Our guest and former conservation district forester, Al Craney, joins us to discuss why that’s not a fair assessment. In this episode we discuss the benefits maple provides and the critical role it plays in our forests and riparian areas.
For more information on bigleaf maple syrup, try these sites:
Kelsey Ketcheson, Gary Bell, and Anne Favolise all work for the Washington Department of Natural Resources Service Forestry Program. This program provides forest management resources to forest owners, including financial assistance and site visits. The three foresters join us today to discuss how this program is rolling out in on the Olympic Peninsula and the forest health issues that region faces.
You can learn more about the Service Forestry Program and other resources to support landowners from the DNR using the DNR Landowner Portal: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/LandownerAssistancePortal
The Columbia River Gorge is a unique area in Washington where forestry transitions from the western high moisture forests to the dry arid environment of eastern Washington. This poses unique challenges to forest management and community preparedness. Ole Helgerson, a retired Extension Forester with Washington State University, spent his career addressing these challenges in the Gorge and joins us on the podcast to discuss.
Wildfire isn’t just an eastern Washington thing. In this episode, we discuss how communities in western Washington can prepare for a future with increased risk of wildfire. Jenny Coe, the Community Wildfire Resilience Coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources, joins to describe support the state can offer to help “west siders” get wildfire ready.
Links mentioned in the episode:
• Jack Cohen Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL_syp1ZScM
• DNR’s Community Resilience page: www.dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-serv…fire-preparedness
• DNR’s Community Resilience Resource Library: www.dnr.wa.gov/community-wildfir…-resource-library
• DNR’s Landowner Assistance Portal – www.dnr.wa.gov/LandownerAssistancePortal
Jeff Debell is a forest geneticist working with the WA Department of Natural Resources, tasked with exploring strategies for growing trees in a changing climate. With increasingly hot and dry summers, reforestation has already become more challenging than usual. The health of future forests may be improved by or depend on innovative reforestation practices we implement today. One key practice is population migration, the practice of moving genetic populations within a given species in order to adapt to projected climate conditions (ex: planting Doug-fir from Oregon in Washington). In this episode, we discuss some critical research Jeff is conducting on this population migration and how small forest owners can support it.
Common mycorrhizal networks, commonly referred to as the “wood wide web”, have gained considerable attention in popular media in recent years. Multiple books, news articles, and even television shows have alluded to this concept and made bold claims about their impacts on forests, particularly forest seedlings. In this episode, our guests Dr. Justine Karst of the University of Alberta, Dr. Melanie Jones of the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Jason Hoeksema of the University of Mississippi discuss their analysis of the existing research on this topic to determine what we know and, perhaps more importantly, what we don’t know.
Jenny Glass is a Diagnostic Plant Pathologist and Director of the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at the WSU Extension Research Center in Puyallup. In this episode we discuss the services the lab provides, Jenny’s background, and forest health concerns she sees in the lab and some that are coming down the pipe.
In this episode we feature Dr. Molly Darr, the newest addition the WSU Extension Forestry Team and Extension Forester for Kitsap, Whatcom, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties. Molly discusses her previous work with the Women Owning Woodlands program, an effort that supports learning opportunities in forestry for female landowners, and what her plans are to keep the program going in Washington.
Learn more about the Washington WOWnet Chapter
Karen Ripley is the Forest Health Monitoring and Invasive Insects Program Manager for the western region with the US Forest Service, which makes her the perfect guest to discuss the arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB) in the Pacific Northwest. EAB is an invasive boring beetle and effective tree-killer that threatens our native Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) and other ornamental ashes in the Fraxinus genus. In this episode we discuss the history of EAB, what to expect, and how landowners and foresters can respond.
Jim Brown is the Nursery Manager for the Plant Materials Center in Bow, Washington, a nursery that provides thousands of tree and shrub seedlings to landowners throughout the state. Jim discusses the functions of the nursery, current demand for seedlings, how they grow trees, and how seedling selection can improve climate change resilience.
We’re joined by Arno Bergstrom, a former WSU Extension Forester, to discuss how forestry assistance has changed over the years, how the award-winning WSU Forest Stewardship Coached Planning course got started, and his continued innovation in forestry while working for Kitsap County.
Any forest owner that puts in the effort to steward their land is worthy of recognition. In this episode Dave New discusses winning the 2019 National Tree Farmer of the Year award and his current role as chair of the Washington Tree Farm Program, which offers a certification for small forest owners.
Matt Provencher is the Manager of the Service Forestry Program with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, which supports small forest landowners. Thanks to new legislative funding, this program is dramatically expanding. We discuss the details of the expansion and the implications for landowners needing assistance managing their forestlands.
Dr. Elaine Oneil is the Executive Director of the Washington Farm Forestry Association, an organization dedicated to supporting small forest owner interests in the state. We discuss the history of the WFFA and it’s purpose, as well as how it’s evolving the direction Dr. Oneil sees it going in the coming decades. This includes the formation of a Small Forest Landowner Carbon Workgroup, which is an effort to provide smaller landowners access to carbon markets and recognize the ecosystem services that these landowner provide. The workgroup needs support and voices from interested landowners in the state. Listen to learn more about how you can get involved!
Episode 10: Mixing It Up Using Variable Density Thinning – with Dr. Connie Harrington and Leslie Brodie
Dr. Connie Harrington and Leslie Brodie are foresters and researchers with the U.S. Forest Service based in Olympia. Over the last two decades they’ve explored a new form of thinning that focuses on reintroducing structural complexity and diversity to forest plantations in order to improve wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services. This practice, called variable density thinning, creates canopy gaps, dense areas, and heterogeneous tree spacing, resulting in a forest that more closely resembles pre-settlement forest structure. Connie and Leslie share their experiences researching and implementing VDT in the field, lessons learned, and how they think it applies to small forest owners in Washington.
Heather Heward is an instructor of Fire Ecology at the University of Idaho, is pursuing a PhD in Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership, and is the Chair of the Idaho Prescribed Fire Council. As we look to become a more fire resilient society, one of the tools we must assess is the use of fire as a method of managing fuels in our dry forest and woodlands. Heather sat down with the Forest Overstory to talk with us about the pros and cons of using fire on the landscape and why it is a necessary tool for forest management. Finally, we discuss how society has looked at prescribed fire in the past and discuss the risk surrounding prescribed fire.
Episode 8: A Tale of Time and Tall Trees – with Dr. Jerry Franklin
Dr. Jerry Franklin is an emeritus professor of Ecosystem Analysis at the University of Washington and the Director of the Wind River Research Forest. Dr. Franklin has conducted research across many of the forest types of the Pacific Northwest, including early work in sub-alpine ecosystems, and later work in dry forest ecosystems of the East Cascades. Much of Dr. Franklins career was centered around the novel classification of mature, old-growth, Douglas-fir forests of western Washington and Oregon. Jerry shares with us his time growing up in the emerging field of forest ecology, what defines an old-growth Douglas-fir forest, the role of these forests in a changing climate, the trials and tribulations of the Northwest Forest Plan, and we end with a discussion on some of the books that have shaped his view of the ecological world.
Martha Wyckoff is a private forest landowner in Kittitas County, central Washington. Her and her husband have owned and managed the land for 30 plus years. During this time they have slowly acquired forest and prairie land in the area with the goal of actively restoring the functionality and health of the forest. Their work has consisted of restoring much of the forest structure towards a more historical condition and have partnered with students from Central Washington University to study the impacts the management has had towards wildlife and plant diversity
Prior to Euro-American settlement, Indigenous Peoples of North American lived on and managed this landscape. Today, their land has been confined to reservations and land acquired and held in trust of the tribe. Much like small forest landowners, they manage their forestland for a multitude of goals and services, including many cultural practices that have been carried on through their history. Ray Entz and Mike Lithgow sit down with us to talk about the goals and strategies they have when managing natural resources for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.
In this episode we are joined by Dr. Melissa Fischer and Glenn Kohler. Melissa and Glenn are the Washington State Entomologists with the Department of Natural Resources. Our conversation winds from a discussion about the Hemlock Wooley Adelgid and invasive insects to native insects and the role they play in our ecosystem. We talk about what makes a tree and a forest healthy, and what a resilient forest might look like into the future.
Dave Peterson is Professor of Forest Biology at the University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Emeritus Senior Research Scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Dave manages his tree farm, Mountain Heart Tree Farm in Skagit County. In this episode we discuss strategies to create forest resiliency. Topics range from historic forest composition, impacts from a warming climate, and assisted tree migration.
This episode features two small forest owners in southwest Washington, Ann Stinson and Lou Jean Clark. We discuss Ann’s new book “The Ground at My Feet”, a memoir that explores what it means to be a forest owner during a period of loss and grief. Ann and Lou Jean also talk about their experiences on the family farm in Toledo over the years and what their goals are for the future.
Ken Bevis is the Washington State Stewardship Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. Ken works closely with small forest landowners to help educate and guide management actions benefiting wildlife. Here, we explore how Ken recommends including habitat diversity in land management actions for small forest landowners, and how some of these approaches are beneficial to wildlife. Ken discusses his thoughts around management goals that many landowners have, restoration of riparian fish habitat, and how small forest landowners fit into the broader context of landscape restoration.
Dr. Paul Hessburg, landscape ecologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, sits down to talk about his work around the current era of megafires. Paul discusses historic burning patterns, how fire shaped our landscape and forest structure, and what forest landowners and managers should focus on when creating a fire resilient landscape.
Sean Alexander and Patrick Shults introduce the new podcast series, the Forest Overstory. We discuss the goals of the podcast, who the audience is, and where we plan on taking this new project in the coming year.
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