College of Forest Resources Development Plan for UW Capital Campaign: Learning @ The Leading Edge
The College of Forest Resources is committed to preeminence in teaching, research and service in integrated resource stewardship and utilization in natural and managed environments. To achieve this vision, the College draws on two themes: 1) sustainable forest enterprises and 2) land and ecosystem management in an urbanizing world. Sustainability is our key integrating concept. While no single word can capture all we do (or may do in the future), the concept of sustainability guides our educational, research, outreach and development programs.
Sustainability implies a rational and dynamic continuation of a set of activities, products, or processes over a long period of time. It also implies an interdisciplinary systems approach --which integrates the social, ecological and economic sciences -- to understand; actively and passively manage; and use the products and amenities of managed forests, natural wild lands, and urban and suburban ecosystems so that they remain productive over the long term. Designing, understanding and managing these systems on a sustainable basis over an entire life cycle is a challenge facing society. We believe that the concept of sustainability captures the essence of contemporary and evolving societal demands and is the proper focus of the College's endeavors.
Societal expectations for both commodities and amenities on managed forests, natural wild lands, and urban and suburban landscapes have dramatically shifted in recent years. This shift in demand began after World War II and has grown steadily ever since. Rapidly increasing human populations, the growth of economic prosperity, mobility, and technology, as well as a continuing evolution from an industrial to an information-based society, have accelerated the shift. Humans continue to need and consume products and amenities of forests and other wild land ecosystems. However, society's perception and understanding of these consumption patterns continually evolve. People now demand that both producers and consumers eliminate negative effects generated by their respective activities. This has led to an increasing demand for the use of environmentally friendly technologies, sustainable production processes and the protection and restoration of ecological functions and services so that future generations may enjoy the same products and amenities that now exist. Environmental protection and restoration are key components of our vision for the College.
The College's vision and priorities are consistent with the shift towards a sustainable society. We must continue to anticipate the future so that we can provide teaching and learning environments that will enable resource professionals, scientists, decision makers and informed citizens to take leadership roles and bring the best science that is appropriate to solve future problems. We must partner with society to define and initiate new academic, research and outreach programs, modify existing programs and discontinue programs that do not effectively respond to the new challenges bestowed upon us. None of these are easy tasks to accomplish, but our vision and goals must continue to address all of them in a timely manner.
The following key elements must be present if the College of Forest Resources is to meet its growing challenges: a) a well-educated and diverse faculty with opportunities to continue to grow professionally, b) well-prepared and motivated students, c) state of the art facilities and infrastructure and d) ample opportunities for enhanced student learning. To achieve our vision and to provide these critical elements, the College community has identified the following four development goals for the capital campaign.
As a state-funded research university, we rely heavily on the legislature to provide adequate funds to support student learning opportunities. To enhance these opportunities, we seek support for a wide set of experiences that will allow students to be better educated and prepared to enter the professional work force upon graduation. Chief among these are support for: experiential learning; integrated capstone case study courses; regional, national, and international field trips, conferences, and symposia; provision of state-of-the art computers and other types of electronic equipment; unrestricted scholarships; and discretionary funds.
Maintaining a well-educated and motivated faculty is critical to the long-term success of any educational institution. Although self-motivated, faculty can benefit from new opportunities to undertake research and to develop new capabilities. We seek funds to: endow faculty chairs and professorships; support graduate student fellowships; provide seed money for proposal preparation; develop unrestricted funds for travel to regional, national and international meetings, conferences and symposia; support the publication of unsupported research; and provide increased opportunities for graduate research seminars, honored seminar speakers and faculty sabbaticals or other leaves for re-tooling to face new challenges.
We seek funding to complement that provided by the state legislature to enhance and improve selected facilities and the associated infrastructure. For example, we need to: modernize classrooms; connect to the internet as well as other electronic media; update laboratory facilities for safety and functionality; keep library collections current and complete; provide and maintain student computer facilities throughout the College's units; and provide funds to expand the College's buildings on the Seattle campus.
New research and teaching initiatives that will allow the College to achieve its vision of sustainable urban and wild land environments include the following:
(1) Sustainable forestry: Sustaining and protecting forest resources are key to achieving a sustainable wild land environment. An increase in population with increasing standards of living and leisure time will result in a greater demand for goods and services produced by managed forests, natural wild lands and urban and suburban ecosystems -- all from a declining available land base. We propose to develop research, learning and outreach programs utilizing exciting technologies that offer new solutions. An interdisciplinary approach involving economic, ecological and social sciences will be used to find solutions to these problems. Areas we will focus on include: plant biotechnology; active silviculture (including forest protection) in managed forests; precision forestry and ecological engineering to sustainably produce forest products; environmental protection and restoration; and wild land conservation and amenities management to help extend the forest resources of Washington State for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.
(2) Sustaining urban environments: An inherent conflict exists in developed societies - a desire for technological advancement and a high standard of living, as well as ready access to natural wild lands and sustainable urban and suburban environments. Population growth and increased consumption with their resulting of by-products, leave no corner of the globe untouched. We propose to study and solve problems regarding the sustainability of urban environments by focusing on urban ecology, urban and community forestry, urban horticulture, public gardens, and issues at the urban-rural interface. We envision taking an interdisciplinary approach involving the ecological, biological, social, economic, and policy disciplines to find solutions to these problems. Issues to be studied and solved include how to better utilize horticultural science to solve plant related problems in urban areas, urban wildlife, the practice of forestry on the urban-rural fringe, fire protection in suburban areas, the management of arboreta, green belts, parks and gardens, and a variety of similar urban challenges.
(3) Sustainable forest enterprises: Washington State's managed forests support a forest products industry that constitutes an important economic asset. Solid wood, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing contribute to this dynamic industrial sector. Technological change and increased levels of environmental protection are not new to this industry. Efforts to reduce the stresses (or the "footprint") that forest products conversion processes place on the planet is now demanding that each of its activities be more sustainable and environmentally sensitive. Additionally, opportunities exist to develop our non-timber forest products as well as non-commodity uses of the forest such as eco-tourism, outdoor recreation and scenic amenities. We propose to develop research, learning, and outreach programs that include finding solutions related to: environmental chemistry, life-cycle analysis, recycling, biosolids disposal and reuse, restoration of contaminated sites and phyto-remediaition.
B. Bruce Bare
Acting Dean, Forest Resources
Rachel A. Woods Professor