CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Fire has played a vital role in the development and health of forest ecosystems for millennia. In the last century or so, however, society has progressively feared, battled and ignored that role, and costs are mounting. Over the last decade, the U.S. Forest Service spent more than $1 billion in fighting fires every year.

John Bailey, associate professor in the Oregon State University College of Forestry, will discuss the role of fire in forest ecosystems and their long-term conservation at the Oct. 11 Science Pub Corvallis at the Old World Deli downtown. He'll also present the results of his own research on how fire frequency and severity are changing the face of forests in the West.

"The results of this approach to fire appear regularly in our news and are having major impacts on forest health and management policy," said Bailey. "We've got tens of thousands of acres of dead forests and abnormal wildfire." He will describe the basic "laws" of fire, modern concepts in fire ecology and emerging challenges for forest ecosystem management and our society at large.

Bailey specializes in silviculture ("tree growing") and fire management in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management. His work includes research on thinning to promote old-growth structural development and maintenance of wildlife habitat, ecological restoration treatments in dry conifer forests, uneven-aged management approaches for long-term ecosystem management and the dynamics of post-fire stand and landscape recovery. He has lived and worked in the Southeast, Southwest and Northwest.

Science Pub is free to the public and is co-sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Downtown Corvallis Association and Terra magazine at Oregon State University. See Science Pub online.

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