Research at the NWRC Corvallis, Oregon field station is focused on developing feasible tools and strategies to resolve problems associated with wildlife damage to forest resources. Reforestation efforts are greatly hindered because of the cutting and gnawing of seedlings by a variety of rodents, and browsing by ungulates. Girdling of older trees also causes substantial mortality or subjects trees to subsequent disease and insect infestations. Wildlife, particularly mammalian herbivores, can impede attempts to establish native plants to increase forest diversity, improve riparian areas, re-vegetate disturbed sites, restore endangered or threatened plants, or to create or improve habitat for wildlife. Foraging wildlife can be extremely detrimental if animals browse on plants before seedlings are well established, or if foraging is continuous or intense. Native plant projects are often destined to fail because there are limited foraging options for wildlife at planting locations.
At present, the research at the field station focuses on efforts to alleviate damage inflicted by bear, beaver, deer and elk, mice, mountain beaver, pocket gopher, porcupine, and voles. Nonlethal management measures are a priority, and applied studies are conducted to develop new products (e.g., repellents, attractants, delivery systems), assess efficacy, nontarget impacts, and long-term consequences of new or existing management techniques, and investigate forest management options to reduce resource vulnerability.
Because new tools cannot be created without first having a fundamental understanding of the problem, research of a more basic nature also is conducted. Station personnel conduct studies to elucidate the role of chemical senses and experience on foraging behaviors, and perform field research to clarify the environmental and ecological factors influencing the occurrence, dispersal, and population densities of targeted species. Results are used by a broad array of managers developing management plans protecting forest resources from damage by wildlife.
The station's expertise and productivity are further enhanced by collaborative efforts within NWRC, as well as, with universities, state and federal agencies and the private sector. Additionally, facilities available through collaborative scientists further enhance Olympia scientists' abilities to conduct additional animal research and laboratory analysis.
Further information on research conducted at the Oregon field station can be found on the Forest and Wetland Resource Protection Research Project page.