UW News

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences


September 30, 2021

Bigleaf maple decline tied to hotter, drier summers in Washington

declining bigleaf maple tree

A new study has found that recent bigleaf maple die-off in Washington is linked to hotter, drier summers that predispose this species to decline. These conditions essentially weaken the tree’s immune system, making it easier to succumb to other stressors and diseases.


September 16, 2021

Rankings: UW among best in world for health and life sciences

building

The University of Washington is among the best universities in the world for the studies of health and life sciences, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2022.


August 2, 2021

New report: State of the science on western wildfires, forests and climate change

wildfire in washington's methow valley

Seeing the urgent need for change, a team of scientists from leading research universities, conservation organizations and government laboratories across the West has produced a synthesis of the scientific literature that clearly lays out the established science and strength of evidence on climate change, wildfire and forest management for seasonally dry forests. The goal is to give land managers and others across the West access to a unified resource that summarizes the best-available science so they can make decisions about how to manage their landscapes.


July 16, 2021

20 UW researchers elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021

Twenty scientists and engineers at the University of Washington are among the 38 new members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021, according to a July 15 announcement. New members were chosen for “their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement, and their willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington.”


June 29, 2021

Air pollution from wildfires impacts ability to observe birds

yellow warbler up close

Researchers from the University of Washington provide a first look at the probability of observing common birds as air pollution worsens during wildfire seasons. They found that smoke affected the ability to detect more than a third of the bird species studied in Washington state over a four-year period. Sometimes smoke made it harder to observe birds, while other species were actually easier to detect when smoke was present.


March 29, 2021

UW’s Joshua Lawler named fellow of Ecological Society of America

Joshua Lawler

Joshua Lawler, a University of Washington professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, has been named a 2021 fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Fellows are elected for life, and the honor recognizes scientists who advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, nonprofits and the broader society.


March 25, 2021

Video: Tasty options as researchers tap a new forestry product

Maple syrup is being poured on a round waffle on a white plate.

Scientists from the University of Washington are testing the viability of making maple syrup in the Pacific Northwest. Long associated with Canada or Vermont, this sweet forest product that has graced many a breakfast table may be part of this region’s future.


March 17, 2021

‘Forgetting Nature’: Peter Kahn offers warning in short documentary film

The message of “Forgetting Nature,” a new documentary film featuring Peter Kahn, is short but powerful: We humans are losing our connection to the natural world, at our great peril.


January 25, 2021

Emeritus professor Robert Edmonds pens history of forestry science at the UW

A talk with Robert Edmonds, professor emeritus in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, who has written a new history of UW forestry research and education called “Saving Forest Ecosystems: A Century Plus of Research and Education at the University of Washington.”


November 24, 2020

Microbes help unlock phosphorus for plant growth

poplar trees along a river

A research team led by the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that microbes taken from trees growing beside pristine mountain-fed streams in Western Washington could make phosphorus trapped in soils more accessible to agricultural crops. The findings were published in October in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.


November 18, 2020

Lisa Graumlich, dean of UW College of the Environment, named president-elect of AGU

portrait

The American Geophysical Union announced that its members have elected Lisa Graumlich, dean of the UW College of the Environment, as the president-elect starting Jan. 1. After two years in this role Graumlich will begin a two-year term as president of the AGU board beginning in 2023.


November 5, 2020

New global archive logs changes in behavior of Arctic animals

moose in field

Scientists from around the world, including the University of Washington, have established the Arctic Animal Movement Archive, an online repository for data documenting the movements of animals in the Arctic and Subarctic. With this archive, scientists can share their knowledge and collaborate to ask questions about how animals are responding to a changing climate.


October 19, 2020

Early-arriving endangered Chinook salmon take the brunt of sea lion predation on the Columbia

sea lion eating a salmon

A new University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries study found that sea lions have the largest negative effect on early-arriving endangered Chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River. The results of this study will publish Oct. 18 in the Journal of Applied Ecology.


April 16, 2020

Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19

In light of stay-at-home orders, University of Washington researchers say studies show there is much to be gained from nature close to home, whether in a yard, on neighborhood walks or even indoors.


‘Hands-on’ classes online? How some instructors are adapting to a new teaching environment

A postal service box with lab materials inside

When the UW announced it was moving its spring quarter 2020 classes entirely online to combat the novel coronavirus, instructors across campus faced a new, uncharted challenge.


April 8, 2020

ArtSci Roundup: Lecture with IVA Professor Whitney Lynn, In Plain Sight Screening, Childhood Bilingualism Talk, and more

collage of various art works and portraits

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Earth Day…


April 1, 2020

Study synthesizes what climate change means for Northwest wildfires

bare trunks

A University of Washington study, published this winter in Fire Ecology, takes a big-picture look at what climate change could mean for wildfires in the Northwest, considering Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana.


March 18, 2020

‘Fatal attraction’: Small carnivores drawn to kill sites, then ambushed by larger kin

cougar on wildlife camera

University of Washington researchers have discovered that large predators play a key yet unexpected role in keeping smaller predators and deer in check. Their “fatal attraction” theory finds that smaller predators are drawn to the kill sites of large predators by the promise of leftover scraps, but the scavengers may be killed themselves if their larger kin return for seconds.


March 5, 2020

Visitors should avoid coming to UW campus to see cherry blossoms amid COVID-19 outbreak

blossoms up close

The University is asking people to avoid coming to campus this year to comply with Gov. Inslee’s March 11 proclamation that prohibits large gatherings of more than 250 people as our region combats the spread of COVID-19.


February 27, 2020

Thinning, prescribed burns protected forests during the massive Carlton Complex wildfire

treated forest

In the first major study following the devastating Carlton Complex fire in north central Washington, researchers from the University of Washington and U.S. Forest Service found that previous tree thinning and prescribed burns helped forests survive the fire.


February 26, 2020

Wildness in urban parks important for human well-being

beach in seattle

A new University of Washington study has found that not all forms of nature are created equal when considering benefits to people’s well-being. Experiencing wildness, specifically, is particularly important for physical and mental health.


January 28, 2020

Rethinking land conservation to protect species that will need to move with climate change

high alpine landscape in washington state

Researchers from the UW and Evergreen found that many species of animals and plants likely will need to migrate under climate change, and that conservation efforts will also need to shift to be effective.


December 4, 2019

Better wildfire and smoke predictions with new vegetation database

ponderosa pine forest

Researchers from the University of Washington and Michigan Technological University have created the first comprehensive database of all the wildfire fuels that have been measured across North America. Ultimately, it can help scientists make more informed decisions about fire and smoke situations.


October 17, 2019

Old friends and new enemies: How evolutionary history can predict insect invader impacts

Dead trees

A team led by the University of Washington has developed a way to help foresters predict which nonnative insect invasions will be problematic, and help managers decide where to allocate resources to avoid widespread tree death.


August 23, 2019

Video: Wildfires west of the Cascades: Rare, but large and severe

More than 99 percent of wildfires in the last 40 years have been east of the Cascade Crest. But evidence that suggests Western Washington also has a history of large wildfires, each burning hundreds of thousands of acres. We might not be familiar with them, because most happened centuries ago.


August 21, 2019

3 UW graduate students earn NASA fellowships, continue legacy of success

rainier vista

Three University of Washington graduate students are among this year’s recipients of a prestigious NASA fellowship that funds student research projects in the fields of Earth and planetary sciences and astrophysics.


July 24, 2019

How to consider nature’s impact on mental health in city plans

two children in park

An international team led by the UW and Stanford has created a framework for how city planners and municipalities around the world can start to measure the mental health benefits of nature and incorporate those into plans and policies for cities and their residents.


July 9, 2019

UW professors to receive 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Six University of Washington professors are to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, according to an announcement July 2 from the White House. The award, also known as the PECASE, is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early-career scientists and engineers “who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.”


April 1, 2019

UW students spearhead efforts to predict peak bloom for cherry trees

collecting data

A team of UW students hopes to make it possible to accurately predict peak bloom timing for the iconic Quad cherry trees.


March 26, 2019

New tool maps a key food source for grizzly bears: huckleberries

huckleberry leaves turning red

Researchers have developed a new approach to map huckleberry distribution across Glacier National Park that uses publicly available satellite imagery. Tracking where huckleberry plants live now — and where they may move under climate change — can help biologists predict where grizzly bears will also be found.


February 27, 2019

Return of the wolves: How deer escape tactics help save their lives

two gray wolves

As gray wolves return to eastern Washington, a new study finds that one species of deer is changing its behavior to spend more time away from roads, at higher elevations and in rockier landscapes.


February 11, 2019

Many Arctic lakes give off less carbon than expected

lakes in yukon flats

New research by the University of Washington and U.S. Geological Survey suggests many lakes pose little threat to global carbon levels, at least for now.


November 29, 2018

Forests, human health, Northwest outlook: UW researchers involved in Fourth National Climate Assessment

cover of Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II showing wildfires

University of Washington researchers contributed to the Fourth National Climate Assessment that considers impacts, risks and adaptation across the United States.


November 8, 2018

Common allergen, ragweed, will shift northward under climate change

ragweed against blue sky

The first study of common ragweed’s future U.S. distribution finds the top allergen will expand its range northward as the climate warms, reaching new parts of upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, while retreating from current hot spots.


November 2, 2018

Racial, ethnic minorities face greater vulnerability to wildfires

firefighting in oregon 2018

Massive wildfires, which may be getting more intense due to climate change and a long history of fire-suppression policies, have strikingly unequal effects on minority communities, a new study shows.


October 24, 2018

A dose of nature: New UW initiative to spearhead research on health benefits of time outside

A new University of Washington initiative seeks to advance research on the health benefits of time spent in nature, connecting academic researchers with pediatricians, childcare providers, mental health practitioners and others who work with various populations on critical health issues.


August 20, 2018

California plain shows surprising winners and losers from prolonged drought

wildflowers on hill

Meticulously tracking of 423 species before, during and after the worst droughts to hit California in more than a thousand years shows surprising patterns. Key prey species plummeted in the third year of the drought, and carnivores were hardest hit in later years.


August 13, 2018

UW forest biologist on wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, California

firefighting in oregon 2018

Forest biologist and University of Washington professor David Peterson explains which natural materials burn hotter and faster during a wildfire, what homeowners can do to protect their properties and how climate change is impacting the fire season.


August 1, 2018

Harmful dyes in lakes, rivers can become colorless with new, sponge-like material

the dye starts to become clear

A team led by the University of Washington has created an environmentally friendly way to remove color from dyes in water in a matter of seconds.


May 25, 2018

Broccoli in space: How probiotics could help grow veggies in microgravity

broccoli going to space.

Astronauts at the International Space Station are spending more time away from Earth, but they still need their daily serving of vegetables. In the quest to find a viable way for crew to grow their own veggies while orbiting — and possibly one day on the moon or Mars — student researchers are sending broccoli…



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