Friday, July 12, 2019

Long-Term Ecological Research: HJ Andrews Experimental Forest

Dates of visit: June 27-28, 2019
Type of event: Study tour
Topic: Long-term ecological research
Organization: HJ Andrews Experimental Forest (Oregon State University)
Location: Blue River, Oregon
Host: Don Henshaw / Information Manager
International Fellows: Richard Banda (Malawi), Fen-hui Chen (Taiwan), Temitope Dauda (Nigeria), Zhongyuan Ding (China), Ana Kanoppa (Brazil), Will Maiden (United Kingdom), Romain Matile (France), Rodolfo Vieto (Costa Rica)

International Fellows with Don Henshaw (right) in front of a trailhead in old-growth forest
Introduction of the history of H.J. Andrews
Experimental Forest and its 71st anniversary
After a week-long “cowboys and cowgirls” adventure at MC Ranch, the 2019 International Fellows went on a 2-day science extension adventure to attend HJA Day at Oregon State University's (OSU) H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, where we met many ecosystem scientists and postgraduates, as well as nature artists and historians. HJA Day is an annual field gathering to share information about research, outreach, education, management, and arts and humanities, and is hosted by the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program This year’s event marked the 71st anniversary of the 1948 establishment of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest is a world-renowned center for research, natural resource management, and the humanities. It has been a charter member of the National Science Foundation's LTER Program since 1980, focusing on the study of ecosystems over the long term and to allow those long-term measurements and observations to inspire ecosystem questions. 

Marie Tosa, OSU graduate student, explaining her
research on mammals and birds
Sam Schmeiding, OSU historian, showing his collection
of H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest historical documents
At HJA Day, the introduction of its history, and this year's 71th anniversary, we moved to four presentation sites. I particularly enjoyed the class on “Mammals and Owls” as it was interesting to see the wide and varied diet of the animals that in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. This was displayed through food webs and highlighted how the Barred Owl has a more varied diet in comparison to the Spotted Owl. This is one reason for the ongoing decline in Spotted Owl numbers. The “Looking Back to Look Forward” site demonstrated a set of dynamic long-term climate data and how air flows operate in the landscape and influence the temperature. “Art, Humanities and Andrews History” showcased numerous displays about historical documents, illustrations, and photographs. “Science and Management Partnership” discussed the societal perceptions of forest features and functions. Field trips were also arranged to give the attendees a close look at how the scientists do their work, such as exploring the connection between soil and trees within the context of carbon capture and how microclimate gradients influence endophytic fungal communities.
Zhongyuan Ding, International Fellow
from China, with his signature pose

An International Fellow’s Thoughts and Perspectives

It’s impressive what the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, as well as the LTER program, have been working on. Ecological research with a long-term perspective is crucial, especially with the consensus that long-term phenomena play a central role in ecological science. Moreover, it requires successional leadership and intergenerational cooperation to facilitate meaningful data collection. It’s difficult but it works at H.J. Andrews. In my opinion, the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest it not only records history but is a part of it itself.

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