By Dan Opalach
During the week of April 23, 2018 Dr. Jim Arney, Dr. Dan Opalach, and Brock Purvis participated in field trips to discuss data collection protocols with FBRI Fellowship graduate students working on their Master of Science (MS) degrees at the University of Idaho (UI). FBRI started the Fellowship program with UI as a means of testing components of FPS and getting the results published in professional journals. In addition, the program benefits the graduate students receiving the FBRI Fellowships, their major professors, and the University of Idaho’s Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences.
On Tuesday, April 24, Halli Hemmingway of Bennett Lumber Products (Bennett) and her major professor Dr. Mark Kimsey took the group to two sites northeast of Moscow to review the site tree measurement protocols for Jim’s 10m Site Index system. For her MS, Halli will be using such data to construct a 10m site index layer for Bennett using Jim’s SiteGrid technology. Halli plans to fall 90 to 120 Douglas-fir trees for her study.
On Thursday, April 26, Patrick Whalen of Inland Empire Paper Company (IEP) took the group to five sites southwest of Coeur d’Alene. For his MS degree, Patrick is localizing IEP’s site index GIS layer to take into account IEP’s investments in early silviculture. The data collection protocol for Patrick’s project involves the use of Jim’s CASH Card. (CASH is the acronym for Correct Age Site Height.) As part of his data collection efforts, Patrick will cut down trees in IEP’s young plantations to determine how many years it takes them to reach a height of 21 feet depending on species, site conditions, and silvicultural investments. Such information is needed to appropriately project the growth of these managed stands and to calculate the financial return associated with silvicultural treatments.
This is the first year of the FBRI Fellowship program with UI and it’s up and running full speed. Each of the four recipients has identified an area of research that is of extreme interest to FBRI and so Jim and Dan will be working diligently with these students and their major professors to encourage them to publish their results as soon as possible. Working with graduate students is just one strategy adopted by FBRI’s Board that helps to further the mission of the Institute. For those of you interested in finding out more contact Dan Opalach, FBRI Forest Biometrician, at (971) 940-2409 or use the form to the right to contact Dan.
 In addition to Halli Hemmingway and Patrick Whalen, the other two FBRI Fellowship recipients are Silas Whitney and Shawn DeFrance. Silas’ project involves LIDAR, while Shawn’s project is focused on competition indices used in the context of growth models.