Update for October, 2021: With a new interim president (Becky Johnson) and a Dean of the College of Forestry (Tom DeLuca) who is still trying to find his leadership courage, we have an enormous opportunity for creating positive change at OSU. There has never been a better time to influence how the College operates when it comes to “leadership in forestry education” and their management of the “Research” Forests. OSU is a public university and the College’s forests are a public resource. Both should be managed to prioritize the things that Oregonians value most: vital, natural forests that provide wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and protect us from climate change.

If you’d like to get involved, here are some specific things to do and keep in mind:

To join our email update list, please sign our petition and check the “add me to your mailing list” box. Be sure to look for the confirmation email to verify your signature!

If you have specific skills, interests, or questions, please email us at: friendsofosuoldgrowth@gmail.com or use our on-line form. We welcome your support and involvement!

Holding OSU’s leaders accountable with compelling and persistent emails is one of the best ways to affect change. Grab hold of an issue, do some research, contact the individuals in charge – and don’t let go!

Here are email contacts for key OSU leaders:

  • College of Forestry Dean: tom.deluca@oregonstate.edu
  • OSU President (Jayathi Murthy): pres.office@oregonstate.edu
  • OSU Board of Trustees: trustees@oregonstate.edu

(if you’re willing to CC or BCC friendsofosuoldgrowth@gmail.com, it will help us monitor issues of concern – all personal information will be kept strictly confidential).


Here are some things you might consider advocating for:

Protect All Remaining Stands of Mature Forest (and STOP clearcutting!): The previous (Interim) Dean placed a temporary moratorium on the cutting of all trees 160 years and older. While a step in the right direction, this was also long overdue. Whether or not this moratorium becomes permanent will depend on the new Dean and the next forest plan. The Research Forest managers continued to destroy older stands in 2021, cutting mostly 70-90 year old trees – without any carbon accounting! This is roughly twice the industry average. These ecologically-important older stands should NOT be clearcut! Unfortunately, the majority of the College’s “harvests” are still essentially clearcuts. The College should be leading the way in demonstrating ecological forestry with ALL of their forest management activities. The Dean and his staff should be prioritizing ecology and carbon sequestration over timber production!

We’d like to see ALL sections of mature forest on OSU lands permanently set aside for carbon storage, wildlife and ecological research, and educational purposes. The term Late Successional Forests in the Pacific Northwest refers to all forest of natural origin that are >80 years in age. These stands are important habitat for northern spotted owls and are the precursors of future old-growth forests. The federal government has largely stopped cutting Late Successional Forests (i.e. trees > 80 years old) – so ask Dean DeLuca and his forest managers to conform to the same (80-year) protection standard. The College’s 2021 “Harvest Plan” targeted older stands (many falling under the Late Successional classification).

Follow the 2005 Plan: On October 21st of 2019, Interim Dean, Anthony Davis, made a formal “un-suspension” of the 2005 Research Forest Plan stating that the 2005 Plan would remain in effect until the next plan is finalized (in approx. 3 years’ time). In the meantime, we need to make sure the managers of the Research Forests follow the 2005 plan “to a T”.

Some key things to watch out for (when you’re hiking in the forest):

  • 10 large harvests in the southern zone of McDonald Forest from the past couple of years violated the Plan’s 1-4 acre limit. We need to make sure ALL large cuts in the southern zone of the McDonald Forest follow the 1-4 acre proscription! You can find details of OSU’s current logging activities here: https://cf.forestry.oregonstate.edu/harvest-webmap If you see something of concern, send an email (to forest.input@oregonstate.edu) and please CC or BCC friendsofosuoldgrowth@gmail.com
  • Harvests in the southern zone of McDonald Forest have reduced nesting/roosting/foraging (NRF) habitat for threatened northern spotted owls by ~166 acres (more than 10% of the original 1,585 acres) – in direct violation of the 2005 Plan. We need to make sure all future harvests are in compliance with the Plan and do not diminish NRF habitat for northern spotted owls. Determining NRF can be a little tricky, but it is safe to say cuts of old forest in the southern zone of the McDonald Forest either violate or fragment the existing NRF habitat. Ask the new Dean to restore the 166 acres of NRF habitat destroyed in the past by setting aside other sections of mature forest. Research Forest managers continue to cut substantial sections of older forest that could have become future owl habitat. It is not enough to simply protect the diminished NRF habitat. The College should be leading the effort to increase northern spotted owl habitat by demonstrating how to do it in the Research Forests!
  • The 2005 Research Forest Plan called for a review of key sustainability indicators (including “Estimates of carbon balance completed for each land allocation and management unit. (Five year report)” and “Distribution, quantity, and characteristics of legacy structures and character trees. (Leave tree database by harvest unit compared to plan guidelines)” among many other factors). Ask the Dean and his staff to evaluate and publish these sustainability indicators for all current and future harvests. We would especially like to see them keep their commitment to measure carbon impacts of their logging. A 2018 study by OSU researchers found that logging is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon ( https://sustainable-economy.org/osu-research-confirms-big-timber-leading-source-greenhouse-gas-emissions-oregon/)

Submit a “Letter to the Editor” at the Gazette Times, The Oregonian, or other publication: https://www.gazettetimes.com/forms/contact/letter_to_the_editor/  https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/page/how_do_i_write_a_letter_to_the.html

Make it a personal and powerful message. Share your views on how University and College leaders should demonstrate “leadership in forestry education” (their false mantra). Remind folks that OSU is a public institution that ought to be managed to meet public expectations and needs. Urge the Dean to change the management priorities to reflect the purpose of the forests: REASEARCH (without a timber bias). Carbon sequestration, wildlife, and ecology must take precedence over revenue generation!

Change the Management Structure of the Research Forests: Contact the Dean of the College of Forestry, OSU President, and Board of Trustees to let them know these issues are important to you.  Ask that they prioritize carbon sequestration, wildlife, and ecological research in the “Research” Forests by changing the management of the forests to a multi-college administrative body (for more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/McDDFuture/ or https://tlc5103.wixsite.com/mcddfuture ) The current Director of the “Research Forests” (Stephen Fitzgerald) has a long history of pro-timber bias. He oversaw the cutting of old growth in 2019 and should be replaced.

Remind OSU’s leaders that cutting old growth does not align with their mission, goals, and core values (see:  https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/trustees/oregon-state-university-mission-statement). Tell them the Research Forests should be dedicated to research, not used to promote destructive industrial forestry practices like clearcutting. Ask them to restrict timber industry funding of the Dean’s position (his salary comes from a $5 million endowment from the past president and CEO of Roseburg Forest Products). This gives a strong perception of a conflict of interest. Let them know you expect positive change – and hold them accountable for it!

Contact the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) to express your concern about the deeply-flawed public process and OSU’s timber-centric, scientifically-invalid “research” plan for the Elliott State Forest:   https://www.oregon.gov/DSL/Pages/Comment.aspx 

Even though OSU is no longer seeking to own the Elliott directly, their “research” and management plans will be used to solidify their “working forests” agenda for the Elliott. For more info., read our blog piece, “The OSU-Elliott Problem”: https://friendsofosuoldgrowth.org/2019/12/13/the-osu-elliott-problem/

Contact your local Oregon representatives (e.g. Senator Sara Gelser and Representative Dan Rayfield) to let them know you care about forestry issues and the Research Forests.  With OSU in their district, they can play a leading role in encouraging OSU to reform their forestry management practices.

Get Involved in the Forest: We’re looking for people who can help with the following activities:

  • GPS Mapping of remnant stands of old trees (we need experts in GPS technology as well as volunteers to help with mapping and measuring)
  • Adopt a Grove / Harvest Area: If you like to get out in the forest (or clearcuts), we could use your help assessing whether OSU is following their Plan and the commitment to stop cutting all trees over 160 years old. Tasks might include taking photos and measurements of old trees and stumps, and marking them. We can provide guidance and measurement tools.
  • Assessing and documenting past and future harvests: If you like to explore the forests and take photos, we could use your help ground-truthing the College’s forest management activities.
  • Help with outreach and gathering signatures for our petition at key events and locations (e.g. Corvallis Saturday Market, Lewisburg Saddle, etc.) – Note these activities are currently on hold due to the pandemic.
One of the many old-growth trees near Sulphur Springs – now protected through our efforts!

Thanks for your continued support!
Doug (& Friends of OSU Old Growth)