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Forest of Time

A Century of Science at Wind River Experimental Forest

Margaret Herring and Sarah Greene

Publication Year: 2007

The Wind River Experimental Forest has been called the cradle of forestry in the Pacific Northwest, a place of groundbreaking discoveries in forest genetics and ecology. Forest of Time follows 100 years of forest science at Wind River, as social and scientific changes transformed the 20th century and the Pacific Northwest forest itself. It is a story of discovery and blindness, of opportunities taken and missed, in a forest dedicated to long-term research.

The Forest Service began research at Wind River in 1908 to learn the secrets of the giant Douglas fir. During the course of the century, generations of scientists studied the forest, and their conclusions changed through time. Initially, Wind River scientists saw the region in need of protection from fire and careless logging. They saw scorched, cutover land that required replanting. Later they saw the forest in need of improvement, needing to be freed from pests and unprofitable species and replaced with thrifty, fast-growing plantations.

Wind River soon became a laboratory where foresters from around the world came to learn how to grow the best possible lumber in the shortest amount of time. As plantations replaced natural stands, scientists came to Wind River to explore the complexity of old-growth forest ecosystems. And today, Wind River is the center of a 21st century exploration of forest canopies and the global connection between forests and atmosphere.

In Forest of Time, Margaret Herring and Sarah Greene show readers how science grows and changes in unexpected ways, much like a forest through time.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

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Foreword

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pp. vi-viii

Through its long and distinguished history as the nation's principal forestry agency, the U.S. Forest Service has carried out three primary responsibilities: managing the national forest system, conducting research, and administering cooperative programs with states and the...

Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

The day was warm and clear on September 11, 1902. No measurable rain had fallen for two and a half months, and small fires burned in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. Wispy plumes of smoke marked spots where Indians dried huckleberries and settlers grubbed out farms amid...

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Chapter One: State of the Science in 1908

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pp. 14-22

In 1873 the American Association for the Advancement of Science convened in Portland, Oregon. Among the hot new science topics of the time was the relationship between forests and water, inspired by naturalist George Perkins Marsh's book Man and Nature. ...

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Chapter Two: Early Science in the Douglas Fir Region

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pp. 23-35

Although Gifford Pinchot had been trained in Europe as a forester, he was reluctant to import European foresters to staff his new agency. In 1900, at Pinchot's suggestion, his family endowed a school of forestry at Yale University, with the objective of producing "American foresters...

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Chapter Three: A Focus on Research

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pp. 36-49

Just as Heinrich von Cotta had described the different approaches to forest research in his juxtaposition of scientists and empiricists, Gifford Pinchot's Forest Service developed complementary, sometimes opposing forces of research and management. Forest rangers were...

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Chapter Four: A Forest for the Long Term

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pp. 50-67

Research at Wind River languished following World War I. By 1921, after a series of resignations and budget cuts, Julius Hofmann once again found himself the only professional forester at Wind River, attempting to keep experiments going single-handedly. ...

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Chapter Five: A New Deal for Forest Science

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pp. 68-86

When Franklin Roosevelt accepted the Democratic nomination for president in 1932, the nation had been suffering bank failures and bread lines for three years. Lumber prices in the northwest were at historic lows. However, as historian Harold Steen pointed out, during the Great...

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Chapter Six: Research Expands Following the Second World War

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pp. 87-97

World War II changed everything. The nation's war effort brought an influx of people and industry to the Pacific Northwest and took out record-breaking volumes of timber. War-related labor shortages encouraged the timber industry to adopt more mechanized production...

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Chapter Seven: Better Timber Faster

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pp. 98-110

In 1962, as world powers faced off over missiles in Cuba and John Glenn orbited Earth in a space capsule, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. In it she warned of the dangerous and unintended consequences of chemical pesticides on wildlife and humans. ...

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Chapter Eight: Forest Science in Transition

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pp. 111-123

The prosperity that followed World War II brought a new public interest in natural resources, more for their aesthetic and recreational value than their commodity value. According to historian Samuel Hays, this new perspective was closely associated with rising standards of...

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Chapter Nine: New Plans and New Restrictions

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pp. 124-134

Despite collaborations at Wind River, forest science in other parts of the Douglas fir region continued to bifurcate. Differences in scientific approach between silviculture and ecosystem studies were made deeper and wider by a growing battle that swirled around the remaining...

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Chapter Ten: Into the Canopy and Beyond

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pp. 135-150

The late 20th century saw increasing involvement of the nation's scientists in large-scale environmental studies. Perhaps none was bigger than the study of global climate change and the effect of greenhouse gases on the planet. The new era of science at Wind River would...

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Afterword: Looking into the 21st Century

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pp. 151-154

In 1902, the year of the Yacolt fire, Bernhard Fernow translated the preface of an historic text on forestry that had been written by Fernow's countryman, Heinrich von Cotta, in 1816. "Each generation of man has seen a smaller generation of wood," Cotta wrote. ...

Timeline

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pp. 155-158

Notes/References

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pp. 159-179

Index

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pp. 180-188


E-ISBN-13: 9780870716355
E-ISBN-10: 0870716352
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870711855
Print-ISBN-10: 0870711857

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: B&W photos
Publication Year: 2007

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Subject Headings

  • Experimental forests -- Washington (State) -- History.
  • Douglas fir -- Washington (State) -- Wind River Experimental Forest -- History.
  • Wind River Experimental Forest (Wash.) -- History.
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