This is a list of ideas of how the Evergreen forest can be
utilized for understanding forest ecology and the spatial and temporal
problems facing the lowland forest base in the Puget Sound. This is meant
to be an addendum to Gabe Tuckers' advocacy of a sustained forestry
project. Sustained forestry is a method of promoting forest health that
is controversial within the Evergreen community. It is a means by which
the forest base can retain value to those who support woodlands amidst
development. A criticism of proactive forest management is that nature
can do a better job than man. Unfortunately the determinants that guided
the development of native forests has changed, and in a community that
values and promotes sustained agriculture, the resistance may be a form
of beliefs with little merit, that also contradicts its embracement of
organic farming. Proactive steps to promote natural processes that are
healthy may indeed be beneficial in the new landscape.
The sidebar to this discussion and the problem that I have found
it to create, is that it has limited our discussion and overlooked other
potential values the Evergreen woods has for our understanding of a
diminishing resource, the lowland forest. These ideas are both
complimentary to forestry practices and apart from them. All look into
how the forest works, and I hope students read them, discuss it, and come
up with ideas of their own. Following is a list of ideas that I have
derived from having lived adjacent to campus for 3 years, 17 years as a
woodsman in the Northwest ( not a logger or a forester, ask me what this
means someday) and even as a result of our class IES- Mt. Rainier. My
goal is that they broaden our discussion of forest ecology, our
inquisitiveness about what happens in the woods, and to add to the case
of a use of a forest, that is as familiar and beneficial to the woodland
and its inhabitants as it is to us its prodigals.
1.) Thatch ants: about six years ago we did a job for Torgi Torgeson
the Lagrande research station to do an ant, moth and woodpecker survey.
Ants, moths and woodpeckers are each interrelated. The most exhaustive
part of the survey was the thatch ant component. We had to do 10
transects 10 miles in length just to look for thatch ants. Torgi thought
they were very important and said he would like to offer a bounty for any
thatch ant mound. We never found any, but Evergreen is full of them. They
are often by road cuts and often destroyed by road crews near the campus.
2.) Holly Trees: Holly is an invasive tree that is starting to dominate
sections of the understory of the evergreen woods. Its foliage is
inedible, it spreads by root and seed, tolerates shade and sun. and may
exclude native plants from growing. It may someday influence not only the
composition of lowland forest but also the canopy structure. I have not
seen it in the upland communities but it may establish itself there as
well. I saw it on the Stinson farm and elsewhere in lowland forests.
Holly may now have some use for wildlife, and developed or will develop
community associations but has potential to harm native species. Good
plant to study, can show thickets in campus woods.
3.) Sitka Spruce: A grand tree that once had historical niche dominance
in the Puget Sound. Virtually extinguished by the airplane and naval
industries and its occupation of valleys and tidal zones. Remnant trees
on campus could be studied as seed source and its potential for
reintroduction into Puget sound.
4.) Oregon Ash and Cottonwood: Remnant trees on campus, may play a role
in forest succession in alder land instead of only conifers. Oregon Ash
especially, is another tree losing its place in the landscape. Source of
seed trees. Cottonwood doing better.
5.) Honeysuckle: More common in lowland forest, may have significance
bird populations. Needs forest structure for growth. Noticed on the
Stinson tree farm, site that was heavily pruned had little honeysuckle,
side of trail w/o pruning had abundant honeysuckle in equal aged stand.
Could experiment with pruning models to promote honey suckle ie. not
pruning 20% of trees in managed stand. Pruning patterns may also benifit
birds, wildlife, and promote unbrowsed veg. as well.(pet theory)
6.) Thinning equal aged stands on Evergreen and monitoring long term
effects compared to unthinned stands. Include pattern variation within
the thinned units like spacing variation and copse retention for
wildlife. Monitor vegetation changes.
7.) Slash retention and piling to prevent browsing and eliminate need
other browsing reduction methods. In the thinned units
8.) I.D. of uncommon and probably endangered variety of lowland
found in adjacent woodlands and work to save its habitat. ie next to
Safeway on Mud Bay Rd. This variety may be very rare.
9.) The study of all minor understory lowland trees and shrubs in the
woods and their roles. A good list.
10.) Habitat enhancement in the forest structure to promote use by
threatened species. ie snag and cavity creation, and ground structures
and monitor there use.
11.) Some significant and probably threatened species noted in and around
Evergreen woods. Flying squirrels, they have a peculiar and disappearing
niche in the forested lowlands. Pileated, hairy and/or downy woodpeckers,
still on campus but dissappearing from the lowlands. Large owls, have
been seeing and talking to them for a couple of years, sometimes I think
they are grey owls but my readings and conversations with them tell me
12.) Potential resident birds . Pygmy owls, others?
13.) Baseline bird population monitors.Forest, wetland and seabirds,
migrants and natives.
14.) Other raptors Eagles, roughlegged and redtail hawks and merlins
seen in Evergreen environs.
15.) The use of the woods to develop forestry skills, so that students
have exportable practical tools to compliment the academic into the
Pacific Northwest and Columbia Basin. Including survey, stand
improvement, native seed and tissue culture, site restoration, habitat
creation, recreational use and impacts and to promote the value and uses
of native plants into the cultured landscape and their increasing
importance in stream restorarion.
16.) A center for studying secondary plant use in cooperation with
emergent industries dependent on these products. Including medicinals,
horticulturals and florals.
17.) Mammals in and around the oly. area and the role of Evergreen woods.
Including potential mammals, Fox (present) racoon (present)
possum(present) mink, river otter, (possible) The effects of introduced
animals (possum) and the effects of racoons w/o predators.
18.) Bat populations and their roles
19.) Salmon Streams: monitoring of Houston creek to include inputs from
parking lot, role of wetland in filtering the stream and monitoring of
stream below wetland; and to determine if wetland can handle pollution
inputs, and the role of parking lot expansion. Do the D.O.,nitrates, ph,
conductivity, stream flows and ion chromotagraph records of pollutants
20.)Eco-system planning.Inventory and identify wildlife and forest
resource on campus and identify land base around campus; the city,
county, private, and state that can provide corridors and extended
habitat that is in semi-compatible use, and to study campus dynamics, to
promote and maintain the forest ecology of the mixed urban, rural and
state timberlands still intact. That human activities can become
compatible with the eco-system and ameliorate its defficiencies. Some
lands of significance include grass lake, evergreen campus, capitol
forest, Mclane Estuary and wetlands, and significant private inholdings.
And to use this information to protect and expand the natural dynamics of
the fragmented west oly eco-system. And to identify major hostile
matrixes to this eco-system and solutions to make them more compatible
(ie hiway 101)
I hope this is taken for what it is, a broadening of our discussion of
forest ecology on campus and the direction forest values can be
integrated into our community as we as provide learning and resources
additional to timber