Long-term effects of forest harvesting on summer low flow deficits in the Coast Range of Oregon


Authors CatalinaSeguraaKevin D.BladonaJeff A.HattenaJulia A.JonesbV.Cody HalecGeorge G.Iced

This study examined long-term changes in daily streamflow associated with forestry practices over a 60-year period (1959 to 2017) in the Alsea Watershed Study, Oregon Coast Range, Pacific Northwest, USA. We quantified the response of daily streamflow to (1) harvest of mature/old forest in 1966, (2) 43- to 53-yr-and 48- to 58-yr-old old industrial plantation forests in 2006–2009, and (3) logging of the plantations using contemporary forest practices, including retention of a riparian buffer, in 2010 and 2014. Daily streamflow from a 40- to 53-yr-old Douglas-fir plantation was 25 % lower on average, and 50 % lower during the summer (June 15 to Sept 15 of 2006 to 2009), relative to the reference watershed containing mature/old forest. Low flow deficits persisted over six or more months of each year. Surprisingly, contemporary forest practices (i.e., clearcutting of the plantation with riparian buffers in 2009 and 2014) had only a minor effect on streamflow deficits. Two years after logging in 2014, summer streamflow deficits were similar to those observed prior to harvest (under 40- to 53-yr-old plantations). High evapotranspiration from rapidly regenerating vegetation, including planted Douglas-fir, and from the residual plantation forest in the riparian buffer appear to explain the persistence of streamflow deficits after logging of nearly 100 % of the forest plantation. Results of this study indicated that 40- to 50-yr rotations of Douglas-fir plantations can produce persistent, large summer low flow deficits. While the clearcutting of these plantations, with retention of riparian buffers, increased daily streamflow slightly, they did not return to pre-first entry conditions. Further work is needed to examine how intensively managed plantation forests along with expected warmer, drier conditions in the future may influence summer low streamflow and aquatic ecosystems.

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Record-high global tree cover loss driven by agriculture

  • The new data reveals record-breaking global tree cover loss for 2016 through 2018.
  • In 2018 alone, the area of tree cover loss was larger than the UK.
  • Agriculture continues to drive tree cover loss globally and in the tropics while forestry and wildfires drive forest loss in North America.

    Author Liz Kimbrough

Across the globe, tree cover loss hit record highs from 2016-2018, with roughly the size of a soccer field lost each second. In 2018 alone, the area of tree cover loss was larger than the UK.

Using high-resolution Google Earth imagery, researchers measured global forest loss from 2001-2015 and categorized its causes. These results, published in Science in 2018, were recently updated by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and The Sustainability Consortium on the Global Forest Watch website to include information for 2016 through 2018.

The new data reveals global tree cover loss reached an all-time high in 2016 and 2017, with the drivers of loss relatively unchanged from previous years.  Worldwide, the primary culprit continued to be agriculture.

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Parks for All, Not Just the Privileged

By Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance

Catherine Nagel is the executive director of City Parks Alliance (CPA), the only nationwide independent organization dedicated solely to urban parks. Under her leadership, CPA has established the Greater & Greener biannual conference, created the bipartisan Mayors for Parks coalition, and developed a training program for equitable public-private park partnerships. Nagel is a co-investigator with the RAND Corporation in the first national study to determine the correlation between urban parks management and policies and physical activity.

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Are Trees the New Coal?

Author : Marlboro Productions

This is the 30-minute version of BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal?

BURNED tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant greenwashing of the burgeoning biomass power industry. The film follows a dedicated group of forest activists, ecologists, carbon scientists, and concerned citizens who are fighting to establish the enormous value of our forests, protect their communities, debunk this false solution to climate change, and alter energy policy both in the US and abroad. It’s not too late.

To stream the full length version go to:

Ecologist and Tsimshian native, Dr. Teresa Ryan shares from her training in Western scientific observation

Ecologist and Tsimshian native, Dr. Teresa Ryan shares from her training in Western scientific observation, insight into the relationships between tree roots and mycorrhizal fungi and marine-derived nitrogen that came from the bodies of spawned-out salmon that were defecated out by bears and eagles and otters, and even some people who eat that flesh of the fish in the forest, and fertilize the trees of the system to create and ingrain the webs of life below her deep green Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest. Introduction by Brock Dolman, Director of Occidental Arts & Ecology Center WATER Institute. This speech was given at the 2017 National Bioneers Conference. Since 1990, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Subscribe to the Bioneers Radio Series, available on iTunes and other podcast providers and on your local radio station. Support Bioneers today: www.bioneers.org/donate

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