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The march toward China: emerging timber markets

21 Sep

I recently attended the 8th annual Who Will Own the Forest? conference, and I must say it was every bit as disorienting as I expected it to be.

As a forestry student, I thought that attending this conference would provide me with valuable insight into the bottom line aspects of private forestry in particular, and that this would expand my perspectives beyond the scope of forest management. And I did come away with a better understanding of those things, to some extent. On the other hand, the forestry conventions I generally attend are densely packed with directly-applicable information and lots of straight talk — so I felt a little out of my depth immersed in the world of finance.

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A tangle of trouble for forests

29 Jun

Today we can all benefit from good note taking.

It’s been a while since I posted about the synthesis report Fire in Oregon’s Forests, but I found some things I jotted down, and these ideas have been rattling around in my head along with things I’ve picked up through work.

My notes seemed particularly relevant now that I am out of the West Cascade Douglas-fir zone and in the mixed conifer and hardwood of Northern California — where fire is a major concern for the forest. Add to that the pinch of nostalgia that comes from rooming with a first-year firefighter, and out comes this post.

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The voluntary incarceration of attending grad school

28 Apr

Your faithful blog author has an admission to make that you may consider funny: Conventions freak me out.

I find them distressing, vexing and worrisome in the extreme. This probably sounds ridiculous. You see, conventions and symposia trigger my anxieties about a far more common problem — the fear of graduate school. I’m writing this post because I returned yesterday from a conference that has basically sent my midbrain red-lining.  And more importantly, because most of you reading this are students coming to crossroads just like I am.

So let’s pick my panicky heart to pieces in the name of science, shall we?

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Updates and some slightly unsettling questions

4 Feb

What a busy few weeks! I’ve had a very strange and thought provoking experience, recently, which is mostly what I want to talk about in this post — especially if any of you can weigh in on the issue. But rather than append random updates to the end of the discussion, I’ll get them out of the way right off the top for those who are interested.

So, as far as school goes, I’ve recently begun doing watershed surveys, involving visual protocols and generating to-scale maps of a reach. It’s been fun, and more than a little wet. I want to post an update with scans once I get more done. Same goes for my silviculture class, in which a group of us are working on a restoration proposal for an area of greenspace on our campus. I’m becoming pretty comfortable with ArcGIS, too — and would heartily recommend Getting to Know ArcGIS to anyone wanting to learn this program. The book is fabulous and practical, and comes with a trial of the program suite, too — though Mac users will be out of luck.

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Interview with the author of “Forest Forensics”

23 Jan

Image via Glenn Winshall at NMH School

After reading and reviewing Forest Forensics recently, I had many questions; I was particularly curious about the procedure one might use to write such a book, and how a person becomes an expert landscape reader in the first place. So, I tracked down author Tom Wessels for an interview, which I have here to share with you.

Q: First off, how do you go about writing a really great dichotomous key, especially on something like landscape? What steps did you take to develop and organize it? What gave you the idea in the first place?

The idea came up when I heard from lots of people who like my first book, Reading the  Forested Landscape, that they loved the idea but couldn’t keep all the evidence straight while in the field. To make a field guide work, a key was the best approach.

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Welcome, 2012!

1 Jan
Dragon water

Water dragon image via Wikipedia

As we prepare to usher in the new Year of the Water Dragon, I wanted to tell you guys what I have up my sleeve for this blog, and ask for your input, too.

You can expect more book reviews, notes/questions on readings, and periodic updates on what I’m doing with school and our SAF student chapter. In addition, I want to do some current issues roundup type posts that collect relevant news stories and link to great articles I find. I’ve also got plans to interview some of the authors of the books I review for extra insight and possibly a sort of virtual mentoring vibe. Finally, I want to do some photo-heavy species profiles with info about identifying certain plants and what makes them special and/or important.

And as promised, I want to open it up to input from all of you. When you initially subscribed or clicked on the link to this blog, what did you hope to see? What would you like to learn? Leave me a comment and let me know, and I’ll do my best to incorporate any suggestions!

Here’s hoping this year is great for us all.

“Practical Forestry in the Pacific Northwest”: Questions

27 Dec
Lodgepole Pines

Lodgepole pine image by gharness via Flickr

I thought I might post a few brief questions since this blog has  lots to do with sharing my learning process. [Update: I’ve discovered some answers since publication, and they’re at the end of this post.] And since I sometimes have so many feelings on a book that I end up writing a novel in place of a review.

While I hope to impress you all with what good questions I have, I am a student, and therefore sure to expose my pitiful lack of knowledge on many subjects! Feel free to chime in down in the comments if you want to share your insights or sources for information. I have not even attempted to research these questions yet, so I may post updates as I discover my own answers; we’ll see how it goes.

So here are the things touched off by reviewing Edward T. Allen’s book:

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