OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Segundo De Silvicultura en Bosques Nativos – Establishing OSU as a Cooperating Partner

Nearly two years ago, Dr. Klaus Puettmann, a professor in the department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and his Ph.D. student Daniel Soto began work on the project Segundo De Silvicultura en Bosques Nativos – Establishing OSU as a Cooperating Partner. Puettmann and Soto began their project in an effort to increase Oregon State University’s involvement with Chile and the work being done to conserve Chile’s native forests. Although they did not initially plan their project to be part of the Chile Initiative, Puettmann and Soto’s project is central to the College of Forestry’s internationalization goals.

Forestry in Chile is recognized as a highly successful global enterprise. Chilean plantations are known for their production of fast-growing and exotic tree species such as pine and eucalyptus. Lumber from Chile feeds the manufacture of wood products across the continents. Yet, while commercial Chilean plantations are booming in productivity, recent research suggests that Chile’s population of native forests, home to some of the oldest living trees on earth, is on the decline. In response to these findings, Chile has dedicated resources to developing and understanding how conservation efforts can be employed to aid in the recovery of native forests. As more research has been conducted on this issue, forestry professionals from Chile and Argentina have begun meeting in colloquiums to discuss their findings and make connections that can be used for future research.

Puettmann and Soto’s project focuses on broadening OSU’s international relations through cooperation with Chile and participation in the conservation of Chilean forests. Puettmann believes that OSU’s participation in these colloquiums will serve to demonstrate a higher level of support for Chilean forestry concerns. By involving OSU in these meetings, Puettmann seeks to add an “administrative layer” of interest to OSU’s relationship with Chile. Instead of sending a single person to Chile, Oregon State University is able to arrive as one entity.

OSU attended its first colloquium in December of 2015. Soto has since worked with partners in Chile to organize the next colloquium. The long-term outcome of these meetings is currently focused around creating and publishing a book which will highlight the material presented at the colloquiums and will include an outline of OSU’s contributions to the restoration of Chile’s native forests. OSU will also provide editing for the completed book through the College of Forestry’s editing shop.

At the end of May, project partners will be coming together to peer-edit each other’s work and to prepare the book for editing. Puettmann and Soto expect the book to be published in the winter of 2016. The book will be available in print and free online in order to most effectively spread up-to-date information on the issues facing Chilean forests and the measures being taken to preserve them. OSU’s involvement with Chile doesn’t end with the publishing of the book in December. Since the conservation of Chilean forests is an ongoing issue, there will be future colloquiums in which OSU will be a participant.

Puettmann and Soto’s work on this project has led to further international development in both of their careers and for OSU. It has been “a very rich experience,” says Daniel with regards to his participation in the Chile Initiative. Soto’s efforts to plan the next colloquium, which will take place in Chile, involve extensive teamwork with partners in Chile and Argentina. Soto’s work on the colloquium has brought him one step closer to his Ph.D. by providing him with essential field experience. On one of his trips to Chile, Soto was even given the opportunity to present his research to the Director of the Chilean Forest Service.

Meanwhile, Puettmann is also working to organize international opportunities for Chilean and OSU students. In the future, Puettmann intends for OSU’s strengthened international ties to lead to the establishment of a student exchange program between OSU and Chile. Having once been and international student himself, Puettmann recognizes the rewards of supplementing one’s education with travel, mentioning that a willingness to travel for one’s education is the mark of a truly exceptional student.

Puettmann’s work with the Chile Initiative has allowed him to “meet and professionally interact with people [he] wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.” After the publishing of the book in December, Puettmann has already made plans to begin work on other projects that focus on OSU’s international relationships. In June, representatives from Chile will be coming to OSU to discuss further partnership opportunities. “The goal is to maintain cooperation,” says Puettmann. Establishing OSU as a cooperating partner is just the beginning. 

 

Written by Rebecca Leclere, CoF International Programs