UW Today

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences


April 28, 2016

Wolf hunting near Denali, Yellowstone cuts wolf sightings in half

A wolf on the road in Denali.

Visitors to national parks are half as likely to see wolves in their natural habitat when wolf hunting is permitted just outside park boundaries, according to a new study.


April 21, 2016

UW’s Jerry Franklin honored for lifetime of forest research, policy

Jerry Franklin displaying his Pinchot Medallion award.

Jerry Franklin, a professor of environmental and forest sciences, was honored by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation for his lifelong work in forest ecology, conservation and policy.


April 14, 2016

Author, reporter Lynda V. Mapes discusses year with 100-year-old ‘Witness Tree’ in April 21 talk

Lynda V. Mapes

Local author and Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes is the featured speaker in this year’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences annual Sustaining Our World Lecture, 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21.


March 25, 2016

Arboretum trail project underway will expand public access

A conceptual image of a bridge.

Construction started this month on the Washington Park Arboretum’s new Arboretum Loop Trail, one of the largest improvement projects to date in the Seattle public garden.


March 16, 2016

New technique tracks ‘heartbeat’ of hundreds of wetlands

Wetland in Douglas County, Washington.

UW researchers have developed a new method to track how wetlands in Eastern Washington behave seasonally, which will also help monitor how they change as the climate warms.


March 11, 2016

Video contest challenges students to creatively define climate change

contest logo

The UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is hosting its second-annual contest for undergraduate and high school students in Washington to create videos about what climate change means to them, in three minutes or less.


February 2, 2016

Risk of lead poisoning from urban gardening is low, new study finds

Kids get creative with kale in Tacoma, Washington.

A University of Washington study looked at potential risks associated with growing vegetables in urban gardens and determined that the benefits of locally produced vegetables in cities outweigh any risks from gardening in contaminated soils.


January 20, 2016

What’s the name of that tree? New interactive plant map for arboretum

sample maps

First-time visitors and regulars to Washington Park Arboretum can now learn the names and origins of plants as well as save favorites while strolling through the grounds.


January 13, 2016

Fewer than 1 in 25 Seattleites can really eat locally

belltown

A new University of Washington study finds that urban crops in Seattle could only feed between 1 and 4 percent of the city’s population, even if all viable backyard and public green spaces were converted to growing produce.


Scientists solve long-standing ecological riddle

photo illustration

Researchers have found clear evidence that communities rich in species are substantially healthier and more productive than those depleted of species, once complicating factors are removed.


December 21, 2015

Rivers, lakes impact ability of forests to store carbon

A river in Washington state.

Forests help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by storing it in trees, but a sizeable amount of the greenhouse gas actually escapes through the soil and into rivers and streams, a new paper finds.


December 16, 2015

Composting food waste remains your best option, says UW study

food scraps in compost bin

A new University of Washington study confirms that composting food scraps is better than throwing them away, and also calculates the environmental benefits associated with keeping these organic materials out of landfills.


December 14, 2015

Seattle’s Ballard is ripe for green-space restoration, new report says

A vacant lot at Northwest 65th Street and 7th Avenue Northwest in the West Woodland section of Ballard.

A University of Washington graduate student saw green-starved Ballard as an opportunity to call attention to areas in the neighborhood that have restoration potential. Her new report, the “Ballard Green Spaces Project,” identifies 55 sites that could be restored as natural areas for people and wildlife, increasing the neighborhood’s total amount of accessible green spaces.


October 14, 2015

New study uses high-speed search methods to better estimate climate threats to biodiversity

Yellow-banded poison dart frog

In a study published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers have used new high-performance computing methods and comprehensive data on the distribution of thousands of species to map the threat that climate change poses to birds, mammals and amphibians across the Western Hemisphere. They found that although Arctic areas have experienced the most rapid warming to date, climate-related threats to the Amazon basin’s biodiversity will eclipse those in other regions by the year 2100.


September 17, 2015

Scientists: Let wildfires burn when prudent

forest fire burning

In a commentary published Sept. 17 in Science, a team of scientists, including University of Washington researchers Jerry Franklin and James Agee, describe unique opportunities and provide suggestions to reform forest fire management to reduce the impacts of inevitable wildfires in future years.


September 4, 2015

Poplar trees are best bet for biofuel in UW-led research project

Poplar materials, including bark, leaves and wood, are used to make cellulosic ethanol.

A five-year, $40 million study is laying the foundation for a Pacific Northwest industry that converts sustainably produced poplar feedstock into fuels and chemicals. The research, led by the University of Washington, will seed the world’s first wood-based cellulosic ethanol production facility.


Climate change could leave Pacific Northwest amphibians high and dry

frog peeking out of water

A new model for snow-fed mountain wetlands projects that the extremely dry conditions seen this year could be commonplace by the 2070s, affecting mountain species.


June 24, 2015

Group at UW shows how to account for nature’s benefits in decisions

Planting mangroves for coastal protection in Placencia, Belize.

The Natural Capital Project, with offices at UW, wants to integrate the socioeconomic, cultural and spiritual values of nature into all major decisions affecting the environment and human well-being.


April 7, 2015

Common birds bring economic vitality to cities, new study finds

House finch

A new study finds the economic value of enjoying urban birds to be $120 million each year for Seattle residents and $70 million for people living in Berlin. Residents in both cities spend more than the average U.S. adult on bird-supporting activities, which then benefit the local economies as residents invest in bird food and conservation.


November 25, 2014

‘Subirdia’ author urges appreciation of birds that co-exist where we work, live, play

Drawing of back of bird as it looks over buildings

Surprisingly, the diversity of birds in suburban areas can be greater than in forested areas, according to John Marzluff’s new book “Welcome to Subirdia.”


November 17, 2014

‘Probiotics’ for plants boost detox abilities; untreated plants overdose and die

Two women and willow cutting in lab

Scientists using a microbe that occurs naturally in eastern cottonwood trees have boosted the ability of willow and lawn grass to withstand the withering effects of the nasty industrial pollutant phenanthrene.


August 8, 2014

David Briggs remembrance Aug. 17 at UW

Head shot of David Briggs

David Briggs, professor emeritus of environmental and forest sciences, will be remembered Sunday, Aug. 17 at the University of Washington Club.


May 27, 2014

UW students, neighbors join forces down on the Union Bay ‘bayou’

Woman kneels by two-foot tall willow branches

Swamp once site of historic Yesler sawmill being restored with UW student and neighborhood help.


May 1, 2014

Amphibians in a vise: Climate change robs frogs, salamanders of refuge

Frogs head shows above surface of the water

Amphibians in the West’s high-mountain areas find themselves caught between climate-induced habitat loss and predation from introduced fish. A novel combination of tools could help weigh where amphibians are in the most need of help.


April 23, 2014

Academy of arts and sciences inducting Franklin, Fine

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

Jerry Franklin and Arthur Fine have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


February 14, 2014

UW helps protect $30 million to $40 million in U.S. wood exports to Japan

Ends of logs in a row

A recently introduced homebuilding subsidy program in Japan put logs and lumber imported from the U.S. and other countries at a competitive disadvantage.


January 9, 2014

Big is not bad: Scientists call for preservation of large carnivores

Gray wolf in forest

Despite their scary reputation, carnivores deserve credit for all kinds of ecological services when they eat grazing animals that gobble down young trees and other vegetation that could be holding carbon and protecting streams.


November 8, 2013

Forest fires and fireside chats: UW students learn about management challenges

Students uses hand lens to examine moss on rock

An intensive two week field course helped 20 University of Washington students learn firsthand about the challenges of managing dry, fire-prone forests of the Pacific Northwest.


November 6, 2013

Floods didn’t provide nitrogen ‘fix’ for earliest crops in frigid north

Trees, sediments in floodplain

Floods didn’t make floodplains fertile during the dawn of human agriculture in the Earth’s far north. Turns out early human inhabitants can mainly thank cyanobacteria. It raises the question of whether modern farmers might reduce fertilizer use by taking advantage of cyanobacteria that occur, not just in the floodplains studied, but in soils around the world.


June 19, 2013

Detour ahead: Cities, farms reroute animals seeking cooler climes

Bison walk down paved road through wooded area

In the first broad-scale study of its kind, UW led research finds half a dozen regions that could provide some of the Western Hemisphere’s more heavily used thoroughfares for mammals, birds and amphibians seeking cooler environments in a warming world.


June 7, 2013

Treks reveal distinctive forests of Cascade Mountains — with photo gallery

Students in line walking across top of snow-covered ridge

In “Spring Comes to the Cascades,” students don’t just read about the forests – they hike and snowshoe through them.


May 30, 2013

Transportation fuels from woody biomass promising way to reduce emissions

Log ends include one with green arrows going round and round signifying the sustainable potential of biofuels,

Two processes that turn woody biomass into transportation fuels have the potential to exceed current Environmental Protection Agency requirements for renewable fuels.


April 1, 2013

News Digest: Built “ecologies” lecture April 4, cybersecurity competition winner, autism awareness lectures

Example of HOK design

Built “ecologies,” resource integration subject of lecture April 4 || UW wins sixth consecutive regional cybersecurity competition || Autism center lecture series in Seattle, Tacoma


March 12, 2013

News Digest: UW Tower Green Fair Thursday, Restoration Ecology Network recognized

Students conduct restoration work in gully

Demos, films, exhibits at UW Tower Green Fair Thursday || Society recognizes UW Restoration Ecology Network


February 20, 2013

Searchable by cell phone or GPS unit, interactive map for arboretum being created

Two children among cherry trees in the Washington Park Arboretum.

UW Botanic Gardens is digitizing 55 years of handwritten plant records and creating an interactive GIS map for the Washington Park Arboretum.