If you’re looking for Gary Chastagner around this time of year, you would do well to put out an all-points bulletin to Wherever Christmas Trees Are Sold. He’s perused trees up and down the West Coast, as well as in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Arizona, and Texas. Just look for the cheerful fellow taking clippings, bending needles, and chatting up the owners about things like moisture content and needle retention.
“My family knows that if it’s Christmas time, I’m usually around looking at Christmas tree lots,” he says.
Chastagner, officially a plant pathologist with the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, is … » More …
Early successional forests, the stage following a major disturbance such as fire, windstorm, or harvest, have typically been viewed in terms of what is missing. Considered by the forest industry as a time of reestablishment or “stand initiation,” these early successional forests have been studied from the perspective of plant-community development and the needs of selected animals. Neither view fully grasps the diverse ecological roles of the early successional stage, argue WSU forest ecologist Mark Swanson and colleagues in a 2011 paper in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Forest management throughout the twentieth century focused at first on wood production and later … » More …
Kevin Zobrist, a Washington State University Extension educator, teaches forest stewardship in the northern Puget Sound region. He helps landowners manage their forests and keep their woodlands healthy. He explains the differences between natural and human-planted forest growth, and the difficulties in creating a diverse landscape that mimics natural forests. Linda Kast ’75, a graduate of WSU’s forest management clinic, tells how she came to own wooded property in western Washington.
Read more in “Seeing the Trees” in the Fall 2011 issue of Washington State Magazine.
If you live in a wildfire-prone area, preparation and forethought is key to your personal safety and preserving your home. You can follow these ten FireSafe steps to prepare your home and land.
(Courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources)
1. Recognize the hazard
Fire is a natural part of our environment. In Spokane County, the grasses and pine forests have been subjected to fires every 3 to 30 years. This is a normal part of our Eco-system. There are more than 300,000 people living in Spokane County and many live in or adjacent to forestland. Understand the steps you … » More …
In 2008, the Valley View fire in the Dishman Hills outside of Spokane burned 13 homes and 1,200 acres. A number of homes survived because residents applied Firewise principles to protect their residences. In this video produced by the Spokane County Conservation District, some of those residents discuss the fire, how they prepared their homes, and what happened during the blaze.
Length: 19 minutes, 21 seconds.
Courtesy Spokane County Conservation District.
Read more about wildfires and communities in “When wildfire comes to town.”
At the south end of Whidbey Island, off a tree-lined road, Linda Kast ’75 pulls her station wagon up to a gate and jumps out. She opens her hatchback and extracts a thick folder containing maps, a history, and an inventory of her small wooded acreage.
As she leafs through it she explains that she bought this 11-acre forest nine years ago in memory of land her family used to own and regularly visit on Whidbey when she was a child growing up in Seattle.
At the time she bought the property, Kast signed up for a forest stewardship class with Washington State University. … » More …
Flames ripped through the pines and brush in the Dishman Hills west of Spokane Valley in July 2008, just as they’ve done for thousands of years. A dry wind pushed the fire up a hill, hotter and faster, and straight into a new development of expensive homes, destroying 13 of them and burning 1,200 acres.
The wildfire’s destruction was not surprising or unexpected. But the number of homes and residents who survived the blaze serves as a testament to smart planning, an awareness of inevitable fires, and research into the interaction of fire-prone wildlands and the growing number of people who live near them.
Magpie Forest is like something out of the Wizard of Oz, a strange green land in the middle of a field.
Nestled in a 33-acre parcel of wheat north of Pullman, the 14-acre tract is a remnant of the original Palouse prairie. Last spring, Washington State University purchased the property from a local landowner to protect it from being developed.
Accessible only through a network of game trails, the spot is covered with hawthorn thickets, quaking aspen, mountain ash, and native shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants. The University hopes to upgrade these trails and encourage people to visit the property. Plans for an access road … » More …