Anna Maria Locke

my tree job

I guess I never really posted about my job in Oregon. It's a dark drizzly day here, so why not share some warm sunny pictures? This was my "office" last summer and fall.

Lots of people I know seem to have trouble describing or understanding what I do. Well, this project is to develop a fire history of old-growth forests in southern Oregon, and then show how the forest has changed since the "white man" moved west and started putting out the forest fires.

We look for fire scars in cut stumps of pine trees that were logged in the past, and use the tree rings to assign dates to each fire scar. Fire scars are pretty obvious:

Basically, small fires used to burn in these particular ponderosa pine/mixed conifer forests every 10-15 years until the 1900's, when the fires stopped. No fire allows lots of flammable trees to grow, so when there IS a fire it tends to be a lot worse than it should be.
I study old-growth forests to see what needs to be done to restore them to more stable conditions. That's basically it. Fun science, yes. Scary confusing hard-to-understand science, definitely not.