News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

ODF to honor ‘climate smart’ forest operations

The Oregon Deptartment of Forestry (ODF) is seeking nominations for its new Oregon Climate Smart Award. 

The award will recognize landowners, land managers, researchers, operators and other forestry professionals who use climate change-adapted practices, or develop innovative methods for carbon capture, retention, or reduced carbon release. Nominations are due by Dec. 31. Nomination forms and more information are available at  https://www.oregon.gov/odf/forestbenefits/pages/climate-change.aspx.

“The goal of this award is to encourage, improve, and recognize climate and carbon practices,” said Cal Mukumoto, ODF state forester. 

The award stems from an executive order that then-Governor Brown signed in March 2020 that directed agencies, including ODF, to prepare and plan for the impacts of climate change and to take actions to encourage carbon sequestration and storage. 

From that executive order the Oregon Board of Forestry in the fall of 2021 adopted ODF’s Climate Change and Carbon Plan. 

“The idea for an awards program arose in response to that plan,” said Mukumoto. 

“With these awards, we hope to encourage reductions in emissions and help forests and communities adapt and become more climate resilient,” said Christine Buhl, a forest entomologist at Oregon State’s College of Forestry who works with the ODF. Buhl is a member of the selection committee that will review nominations.

Buhl said she is already seeing signs of stress on trees in Oregon forests from extreme heat waves and prolonged droughts. 

Initiatives that she will be looking for when reviewing the nominations include:

Efforts to improve the climate resilience of forest lands and restore ecological functions; Climate Smart forestry practices in growing and maintaining trees; Wildfire management, response, and fire or smoke adaptation; Carbon reduction or capture in forest operations, such as logging or thinning; and Innovative research or products that reduce emissions or increase climate resilience.

Emily Martin, an ODF monitoring specialist who is also on the selection committee, said nominees may include universities, educators, consulting and research agencies, fabricators, forest operators, and private industry firms working on non-federal lands across the state.

“Anyone can be nominated who’s doing climate-related mitigation and adaptation work or research, and anyone can nominate them,“ Martin said.

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