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Faculty Profile Bob Gara

Bob Gara's love of forests goes back to the time he was a kid in Chile, an experience he says that gave him a "great background to teach forestry and forest entomology." Bob is currently a professor in the Management and Engineering Division, having first come to CFR as an associate professor in 1968. Bob was born in Santiago, Chile but lived in Chuquicamata, location of the world's largest copper mine (located in the Atacama Desert, the world's driest desert). His parents sent him every year to a summer camp in the pre-cordilleran forests east of Santiago. Bob says, "While there, I learned a lot of forest lore—it was from those times that I wanted to be a forester."

Bob came to live in the U.S. when he was nine. He attended high school in New Jersey, where he remembers sitting in the library reading the journal American Forests. He applied to North Carolina State but, he says, "Dr. Louis Turner, Dean of the College of Forestry, Range, and Wildlife Science, at Utah State, wrote me such a great letter about the West and studying in Utah that I enrolled there instead."

Bob worked on summer trail crew and slash disposal teams before entering Utah State. While attending college he spent summers as a smokejumper in Idaho. He says, "I had many adventures and close calls but the work paid well — $1.49 an hour! I also served as a disc jockey for a classical music program on the University's radio station. The Korean War was on at the time, so I enrolled in the Air Force ROTC, as I wanted to be a pilot." After graduation, Bob began flight training in Florida as a 2nd lieutenant. "Alas," he says, "I was clumsy and I washed out of the program—an emotional disaster for me." He went on to become a navigation and electronics instructor at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, TX, where he realized that he enjoyed teaching and that he was good at it.

Bob left the military in 1957 and became a district forester with Kirby Lumber in East Texas. He was in charge (with lots of training, help, and cooperation) of an 80,000-acre district with responsibilities that involved road building, thinning, pruning, timber marking, planting 2,000,000 trees a year, and managing a multi-products operation for railroad ties, mine props, fine hardwoods for furniture, and oak for flooring and cooperage. The underlying objective of Kirby was to develop a regulated pine forest that would be managed on an 80-year rotation. He says, "The Kirby forests were fascinating. All the major age classes were distributed throughout the stands with the older age classes towering above the forests. In 1959, 15,000 acres of mature loblolly pine were being defoliated by the blackheaded sawfly. My boss asked me to form an association with neighboring landowners and the State of Texas to solve the problem. The infestation was sprayed with DDT—my introduction to entomology. During this time the southern pine beetle began to decimate the pine forest of East Texas, with thousands of trees being killed yearly. I was then absorbed with the problem of managing barkbeetle outbreaks, and I realized that a graduate degree in forest entomology was the way to my future."

Bob received his M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology at Oregon State University. "I had the great fortune of working with J.P. Vité (on-leave from Goettingen University) as my major professor. Dr. Vité was also director of the Forest Experiment Station of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Grass Valley, CA. I worked and learned with Dr. Vité for the next four years, serving as a senior scientist for BTI and studying the host selection behavior of barkbeetles in California, Nevada, East Texas, and Mexico. After receiving my Ph.D., I helped establish a BTI research station in the heart of the pine forests of East Texas. The station included living facilities, labs, garages, and an 800-acre forest. The philosophy of the station was, `You can't understand the ecology and host selection behavior of southern barkbeetles in university labs or occasional sallies into the field—to understand autecological interactions between trees and insects, you have to literally live with the problem!' " In 1966 Bob became an assistant professor of forest entomology at the then-State College of Forestry in Syracuse, NY. As much as he enjoyed the Northeast, he longed for the West, so he accepted a position at the UW in 1968.

In 1969, Bob was a student in an Organization for Tropical Studies course in Central America. The following year he and Fred Johnson, from the University of Idaho, prepared a similar course. "These courses again changed my life," says Bob. "I knew I wanted to help both North American and Latin American students and professionals understand the importance of the forest protection discipline in developing coun-tries; i.e. defending hard-gotten capital and intellectual investments in forestry from being devalued or lost by insects, fire, and diseases. To these ends I did consulting for the Peace Corps forestry program in Chile; worked for the United Nations at the Latin American Research and Training Center in Costa Rica; and served as the forest protection expert for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Ecuador. While in Ecuador in 1985, I was appointed a consultant for suppression of the wild fire that was destroying the highly endemic forests of Isabela Island of Galapagos International Park—a threat to the giant tortoises on the island."

Bob also spent a year as a visiting faculty member at the Universidad Austral de Chile, where he taught forest entomology and studied the host selection behavior of wood-boring beetles, a phloem-feeding fly, and various pests of radiata pine nurseries and plantations. During this time, he also worked for the United Nations and wrote a forest protection plan for the Chilean forest service. In 1990 he traveled to Viet Nam and worked with the United Nations analyzing strategies to suppress pine defoliator problems. In 1995 he was a Fulbright Fellow with the University of the Andes in Venezuela for six months, and in 1999 a Fulbright Fellow with the University of Guayaquil in Ecuador. There he studied the ecological roles played by insect defoliators of mangrove forests.

During my time with CFR," Bob says, "My work with graduate students has included host-insect relationships of the Sitka spruce tip weevil and spruce plantations of western Washington, click beetles of Sitka spruce forests, pollinators of meadow flowers of Mt. Rainier, grylloblatids and other insects of the Mt. Rainier snow fields, Douglas-fir beetles of the Cedar River Watershed, mountain pine beetles in ponderosa pine forests of eastern Washington, the Douglas-fir tussock moth, spruce bark beetles of Alaska, insects associated with dead and dying spruces of Alaska, Ips beetles of southeast Montana, and the mahogany shoot borer in Central America and Ecuador. Beside studying strictly host-insect relationships, the CFR forest entomology lab also has studied relationships among forest fires, mountain pine beetles, and pathogens in lodgepole pine forests of Oregon; the biology and taxonomy of Northwestern tiger beetles; the buildup and decline of defoliators in the estuaries of Ecuador; the ecology, behavior and management of shipworms infesting logs stored in the Port of Everett waterways (fascinating studies done with Frank Greulich!); the role of insects in distributing marine derived nutrients in returning salmon populations; the host find-ing mechanisms of shorthorned wood borers (infra-red reception system); and others."

In addition to traveling with his family, Bob enjoys reading, listening to classical music, and collecting books, especially those written by early forest entomologists and those of Jules Verne.

Faculty News

Gordon Bradley, Bob Lee, and Doug Sprugel served as advisers to three of the four Program on the Environment (PoE) students presenting their senior capstone case studies in winter quarter.

Sally Brown was featured, along with other Pacific Northwest researchers working on remediation of acid mine drainage, in the Winter 2001 issue of Northwest Science & Technology.

Bob Edmonds was appointed Associate Dean for Infrastructure, effective January 1, 2001.

Kern Ewing's restoration ecology class is continuing with the restoration of parts of the UW's E5 parking lot and adjacent uplands. The project began in 1998 with the conversion of the eastern half of the gravel parking lot into a Puget Sound glacial outwash prairie habitat. The class will install a native shrub habitat along the eastern edge of the prairie, serving to increase habitat diversity in the Union Bay Natural Area and to buffer the nascent prairie habitat from invasive plants pervasive throughout the Area's grasslands.

Jerry Franklin recently co-authored a report entitled "Forest Carbon in the United States: Opportunities and Options for Private Lands," for the Pacific Forest Trust. The report outlines the conditions necessary for increased carbon dioxide reductions from forests.

Phil Hurvitz announces a new resource for spatial information technology users at the UW. Combined internal University Initiative Funds were granted to the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and CFR for a TA who, along with assisting in courses, will monitor an e-mail "GIS help line." Says Phil, "If you need help with GIS, remote sensing, or other spatial information technology, send mail to help@gis.washington.edu. Mail to and from the helper will be automatically archived in both monthly and continuous Web lists; the archives will be available at http://gis.washington.edu/gishelp.

Bruce Larson was appointed Associate Dean for External Affairs, effective January 1, 2001.

John Marzluff recently co-authored an article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences on genetic differentiation in ravens. John and his co-authors' data shows that genetic analysis of 72 common ravens from around the world revealed two distinct genetic groups, even though there is no discernible difference in the birds' appearance. DNA sequence data
from feathers shows a deep genetic split between common ravens from what scientists call the "California clade" and the rest of the world. Erik Neatherlin, a CFR graduate student in wildlife sciences, helped collect raven feathers on the Olympic Peninsula that were used in the study.

Congratulations to Lee Newman, who has accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina. Lee's departure from CFR was effective January 1, 2001.

Dorothy Paun co-authored "Potential for Expanding the Small Diameter Timber Market" in USDA Forest Service Report FPL-GTR-120. She also gave a presentation entitled "Forward Integration: International and E-Businesses." at the Northwest International Business Educators' Network Conference, March 2-3, 2001.

Peter Schiess announces that plans are underway for the upcoming International Mountain Logging & 11th Pacific Northwest Skyline Symposium 2001. The symposium will explore issues surrounding mountain forests relating to maintaining and enhancing their scenic, protective, and productive values with the application of forest engineering knowledge. See http:/depts.washington.edu/sky2001/ for more information.

Affiliate Assistant Professor Sean Thomas, former postdoctoral fellow at CFR now at the University of Toronto, co-authored an article on tropical forest diversity in the January 26, 2001 Science. See http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/291/5504/606 for Web article.

Kathy Wolf presented urban forestry research topics at various meetings during Winter Quarter, including a presentation at the Citizens, Science, and Environment Conference at University of Oregon in Eugene and at the Arbor Day Foundation meeting on "Social Issues and the Environment," held at the Lied Conference Center in Nebraska City, NE.

John Wott announces the publication of "Tour de Force," in American Nurseryman, 193(4): 68-74. February 15, 2001.

Faculty Reports

Historic Conversion of Natural Habitats. John Marzluff, along with graduate students Lin Robinson (social sciences) and Tina Rohila (wildlife sciences), report on current activities of the Urban Ecology Group at CFR. The interdisciplinary group, funded by UW's Tools for Transformation, is working to
document the historic conversion of natural habitats to other uses in western King County. The study will determine the amount of forested land that has been lost to other uses, and where and when these changes have occurred. CFR researchers participating in the project include John, along with other faculty members Clare Ryan and Gordon Bradley, Lin and Tina, and two undergraduates, Cathy Lander and Nicole Troyer (conservation of wildland resources). Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from the Department of Urban Design and Planning, the Jackson School of International Studies, and the Department of Geography are also involved.

The project has split into two work groups. The Landsat group is working with remote sensing satellite data to analyze land use changes over a 30-year time frame in the Puget Sound region of King County. Their analyses are split into two parts: 15-year increments and five-year increments, using satellite data from 1972, 1986, and 2000, to look at the change in amount of "vegetation" compared to the amount of "urban" in each 15-year interval. The same will be done for the years 1986, 1991, 1995, and 2000 for five-year intervals. The orthophoto group is analyzing land cover changes from 1948 to 1998 using digital orthophotos for the years 1991 and 1998 (the most recent year available) and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers paper map mosaic for 1948. Their study area consists of a swath from the southeastern end of Lake Sammamish to about five kilometers east of Snoqualmie/North Bend, an area that has experienced rapid land conversion in recent decades. Photos for each year are being digitized and classified according to a detailed land cover classification system developed specifically for the project.

The overall goal is to document historic land cover and habitat changes and to present the data in a manner useful for King County and other municipalities considering changes in the location of Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB) established under Washington's Growth Management Act (1990). For example, planners could overlay a GIS layer of environmentally sensitive areas in King County and see where and how vegetation has changed around those sites. GIS analysis using other databases could also help determine how much development has already occurred outside the UGB and where future growth should not or could not be allowed.


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