Dissenting OSU faculty try to delay anti-logging article
The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006
CORVALLIS - A group of professors at Oregon State University's College of Forestry unsuccessfully tried to get the prestigious journal Science to hold off on publishing a study that concluded that leaving forests alone is the best way to help them recover from wildfires.
Editor Donald Kennedy, the former president of Stanford, said those who dispute the findings can respond to the study once it is published instead of using what he called censorship. The study was scheduled for Friday's edition of the journal.
An Oregon State graduate student, Daniel Donato, 29, led researchers in examining lands burned by the 2002 Biscuit wildfire in Southwest Oregon, where the Bush administration and others at OSU had promoted logging as a means of restoring forests quickly
Donato's team concluded logging slows forest recovery. They found that logging after the Biscuit Fire destroyed seedlings and littered the ground with flammable tinder.
As is customary, Science's editors had independent scientists review Donato's research.
OSU's College of Forestry, which receives 10 percent of its funding from a tax on logging, was immediately divided. Some said the request to delay publication raises questions about academic freedom.
``One has to notice and acknowledge the courage of a graduate student to do research and publish findings that run against the norm,'' said Kathleen Dean Moore, a distinguished professor of philosophy at OSU who teaches environmental ethics.
College of Forestry dean Hal Salwasser, who has testified in favor of a congressional bill that would accelerate logging after fires, sent a memo to faculty questioning conclusions of the research paper, first released Jan. 5 in Science's online edition.
Earlier, John Sessions, a distinguished professor of forest engineering at OSU, and Professor Emeritus Michael Newton wrote a report suggesting aggressive logging would restore forests after the blaze.
They were among nine OSU scientists and professors, plus the U.S. Forest Service, who asked Science editors to delay publication of the study until it addresses their criticisms. Alternately, they asked that their concerns be included in a letter accompanying the study.
Found in the Eugene Register Guard - January 22, 2006