Washington State Magazine

Fall 2007

Fall 2007

In This Issue...


It Happened at the World's Fair :: Shortly after Jay Rockey '50 arrived in Seattle to handle the public relations for the 1962 World's Fair, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an editorial claiming it could not see how the fair could possibly make it. &"Do you really know what you're doing?" Rockey's wife asked him. Turns out he did. by Tim Steury
{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Impressions - A gallery of souvenir lithographs commemorating the United States Science Exhibit at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962.}
{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Van Allen belts and other impressions - A meditation on the convergence of science and art, written in 1962 by United States Commissioner Athelstan Spilhaus, for the Seattle World's Fair. }

The Rockey Style :: In spite of nearly universal name recognition and a client list that runs through the Pacific Northwest alphabet, Rockey himself rarely shows up in the press. In this age of Google, it's unnerving to go looking for someone who you know permeates a civic and business culture, and he just isn't there. by Tim Steury

Contagion! Emerging diseases: Unraveling the mystery :: What makes some strains of pathogenic microbes nastier than others? Why do they emerge when and where they do? Are we more susceptible now than in the past, and if so, why? At least partial answers to these troubling questions may lie with snails and salamanders. by Cherie Winner

Food fights :: Four children died in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Attorney Bill Marler's client survived, but only after spending six months in the hospital. Marler sued and won a $15.6 million settlement for Brianne Kiner. Even more significant, the work he produced for the case made him an expert not only on E. coli, but on the whole food production system. by Hannelore Sudermann. Photography by Bruce Andre and Robert Hubner


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: A buzz about bees - In a set of video clips produced exclusively for Washington State Magazine Online, WSU's Steve Sheppard talks about the breeding of honey bees and his work on finding out why honey bee colonies across the country have been disappearing. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Frontline: Pullman - For senior communication major Kate Yeager, playing host to Frontline executive producer David Fanning was the high point of her student career. by Annette Ticknor '07 }

Tracking the Cougars

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Washington State Magazine wins top honors: Five stories, four issues, and a gold medal from CASE. }

COVER: Jay Rockey '50 poses in front of his Seattle World's Fair press book. Photoillustration by Bruce Andre and John Paxson.



Photo courtesy of Matt Carroll



Photo courtesy of Matt Carroll

Trees return to Ireland

by | © Washington State University

Once upon a time, Ireland was mostly forest. In prehistoric and early historic times, trees covered an estimated 90-95 percent of the landscape. But English invasions, rebellions, and industrial demands moved the landscape toward its modern austere treelessness.

A hundred years ago, barely 1 percent of Ireland was forested. Now forest has reclaimed 10 percent of the landscape, and the Irish government would like to raise that coverage to 17 percent. Toward that goal, it has mounted a reforestation campaign, backed by a program of grants to landowners to plant trees. Trouble is, the Irish haven't been used to seeing forest as part of their landscape for centuries. Particularly jarring is that the new forest is predominantly a monoculture of non-native Sitka spruce.

Matt Carroll, a community and natural resource sociologist in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, became intrigued by the situation after meeting Aine Ni Dhubahain, a forester at University College Dublin, who had an ongoing project examining the social and economic impacts of forest planting over the last 20 years. Her expertise lay primarily with the economic implications, so Carroll decided to look more closely at the social side.

Backed by a Fulbright, Carroll focused on two study areas in County Kerry in southwestern Ireland. The first, around Causeway, is agriculturally productive and prosperous. Forest planting there is relatively scarce. The other area, around Brosna, is not as productive and, says Carroll, has a longer history of people realizing they need something other than farming to make a living. Far more of that area has been planted to forest.

Native forests in Ireland were primarily hardwood. However, hardwoods generally prefer better soils, which are largely considered reserved for food production. At some point, it was discovered that Sitka spruce does very well in Ireland, tolerating the country's poorer land. Government reforestation now emphasizes the planting of Sitka spruce in intensive, largely monoculture tracts, on a 20-25 year rotation.

Carroll interviewed residents regarding the new forests and found their attitudes mixed. "Culturally speaking, planting is acceptable only on bad 'rushy' land, cut-over bogs," says Carroll. No one wants to use good agricultural land for forest.

Other reasons residents gave for not liking the new forests were that they are isolating. People were used to seeing their neighbor's lights across the treeless landscape. Neither do they like the visual monotony of spruce forest.

Also, the new forests have created a curious twist on the spotted owl controversy here, which Carroll explored in his dissertation. Some worry that the increasing forest threatens the hen harrier-an endangered bird of prey-which requires open landscape as habitat.

"Where there is unhappiness with forestry, I think it's linked to broader trends," says Carroll. Ireland's current robust economy, the "Celtic tiger," is accompanying broad social changes, particularly in rural areas. Farming is moving to more of an industrial model, which results in consolidations and increasing reliance by smaller farmers on supplemental incomes.

"Until fairly recently, people were supporting families on 20 cows," says Carroll. That is no longer possible.

"So there's this huge economic expansion going on," he says. "At the same time, you have agriculture going through wrenching changes. And there's the sense of many people their culture is being lost, oral traditions, genealogies, poems. People are worried about losing all that in the context of changes in farmland."

Categories: Forestry | Tags: Trees, Ireland

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