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ecologically complex, economically viable, responsibly operated forests

Timber, Mt. Richmond, Manning | Oregon

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Dec09

A Nation Divided Cannot…..

Posted on Dec 9 by

Talk of “divides” is all around us.  Red/Blue, Urban/Rural, Rich/Poor, White/Brown….. Of course it’s not new, but it seems to be more acute than at any other time in my brief sixty years.  There seems to be agreement that is a problem deserving of our attention, which leads to the good question of “how”? The Hyla Woods team thinks and cares about this issue and question.  One answer that we’ve focused on seems simple and manageable – reach across a divide and find some reason to work together.   It’s not rocket science – (or far more complex, ecosystem science) – but many drops of water do turn the mill.  Here are examples of what we’ve done and learned by doing this. We’ve identified products that grow in our forests that urban people need and we have provided them.   Many years ago, thanks to a “block party” organized by our friends at Ecotrust, we met and visited with Christine and Robert.   They’re both retired from interesting lives as members of religious orders, live in SE Portland and – most importantly –...

Dec09

Tipping Point – From Concept to Scary Reality

Posted on Dec 9 by

Do you remember encountering, at some point in your school, a lesson in tipping points?  Phenomena the may change at a slow, regular and predictable point but then cross a threshold, or tipping point, when they can change dramatically and rapidly?  I do.  Images of the concept stick with me; I think of it as I read news of melting ice in the polar regions or the prospect of the Gulf Stream radically shifting.   Those of us owned by forests think about these things in the early morning hours.   Over the past two year’s the concept has been brought home, literally, and made real as we watch the impacts of recent drought on portions of our forests.   In our areas of mid aged Douglas fir, we are accustomed to watching some trees vibrantly thrive while others sputter along with less vigor.  We know that these differences may be caused by many things – soils, available moisture, seed source……. But until recently, experience always taught us that change in the condition of the underdog trees would be gradual and predictable. ...

Nov26

Wild About the Woods

Posted on Nov 26 by

This blog was born out of a teacher asking “wouldn’t it be great if we had some way to better learn about what other educators and their students are doing in the Hyla Woods forests?”.   Of course, those of us on the Hyla Woods team responded with two things: 1) an enthusiastic “yes!”, and 2) a this blog. Five years and many posts later, the experiment has been a success and the blog provides an ever evolving and growing compendium chronicling the good work done in the forests – by students of all types. In keeping with that spirit, we encourage you to read this recently published piece by Catlin Gabel School second grade teachers Natanya Biskar and Laura Morton summarizing their students’ explorations and discoveries in the Timber Forest.  It is particularly exciting to see how this work fits into both the yearlong work of the second grade as well as the school’s overarching educational philosophy....

Nov08

Analysis of Hyla Woods Bird Research

Posted on Nov 8 by

Effects of Management Practices on Avian Abundance in Oregon Coast Range Forests Molly Hayes Biology-Environmental Studies Whitman College 2014 Advisor: Delbert Hutchison  Abstract Forestry in Oregon has traditionally used an industrial model aimed to maximize timber production and revenue, with little attention to the potentially negative affects on ecosystem health and biological diversity. However, some landowners have begun experimenting with more sustainable management practices. This study examines the affect of some of these innovative silvicultural techniques on avian abundance and diversity in the Oregon Coast Range. Data on bird number and species were collected across designated stops for three years with each stop characterized by forest type (predominantly Douglas fir, mixed, or predominantly a species other than Douglas fir), understory (woody shrub, fern, or herbaceous), and treatment (control, lightly thinned, thinned, or patch cut). Total number of birds, number of birds in certain foraging guilds, and four indicator songbird species were compared across stops. Because data were collected with no clear analysis in mind, not all combinations of stop characteristics could be considered. Data were analyzed using one and...

Aug30

The Value of Heat

Posted on Aug 30 by

Some like it hot – but the Hyla Woods team does not.  Though we are champion “heat wimps”, our work at our mill and kiln teaches us the value of heat.  This has been one of our best summers yet for using our solar kiln to dry green (wet!) lumber into high quality products.  Using less than a dollar a day of electricity to run the fans that circulate the hot air, the kiln captures the sun’s energy and puts it to work in drying the lumber.  As the photo shows, the kiln is running full bore.  On the far left is thick, live edged, oak lumber air drying for a local furniture company.  Beside it, having just completed the drying cycle, is 3,500 board feet of premium fir.  The doors are being slide shut on 3,500 board feet of oak headed toward becoming our next batch of end grained cutting boards in time for the holidays.  And on the far right fir planking is being air dried before being used for the rebuilding of a deck.  At the mill and kiln...

Aug06

The 230 Year Challenge – Who’s In?

Posted on Aug 6 by

In the forests, every year and season brings some new adventure. A low point of 2014 was that the largest oak in our Mt. Richmond Forest died.  We’re not sure of the cause – perhaps just old age? The discovery of this winter was that once the old, dead monster tree was cut and came thundering to the forest floor, we counted the rings and discovered that the tree held 230 years of life. This means that the acorn sprouted in roughly 1786, and was a 20 foot sapling at the time when Lewis and Clark came over the hill. After much effort, the tree has been felled, bucked, yarded, loaded on the tree taxi and transported up to the hilltop mill – where we are thinking through how to mill the 44″ in diameter butt log into lumber. The Challenge  – If the forest can spend 230 years growing such a magnificent tree, shouldn’t some one of us be able to use its wood to make an equally magnificent piece of furniture that will still be going strong...