Jerry Franklin Oral History Interview

Interviewee: Jerry Franklin
Interviewer: Samuel Schmieding
Interview Date: November 15, 2016
Location: Franklin residence, Issaquah, Washington
Duration: 2:59:42
 

Jerry Franklin, a long-time champion of native forests, especially old growth, begins this interview describing his education at Oregon State University and PhD from Washington State University, and how he worked for the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the Forest Service during his undergraduate days. He outlines other critical elements of his early career, such as battling University of Washington faculty to get a piece of the International Biological Program (IBP) for Corvallis and fighting within Oregon State University to center the IBP work at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and on natural forests rather than plantations. Over this period (late 1960s, early 1970s) his own work and views shifted from traditional forestry to an ecosystem perspective as he began to learn about old-growth forests. He notes that Federal laws (e.g., the National Forest Management Act) called for this transition in perspective about forest management. He describes how a two-year rotation as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) was essential in the development of ecosystem science in the agency and birth of NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research program.

Next, he comments on how the cutting of old growth and the decline of the spotted owl populations collided and the big challenges this posed for agencies and members of Congress. Yet, he notes that he did not expect the changes that soon came. He describes how, as the “Forest Wars” commenced, a succession of projects provided science-based information to policy makers and Judge Dwyer, who had leveled injunctions on logging Federal timber. Franklin’s insider accounts touch on interactions with members of Congress and enlisting agency staff to map the distribution of remaining old forest as part of the Gang of 4 project.

Franklin speaks of his experience in the President Clinton’s Forest Summit and the subsequent Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team activities, which laid the foundation for the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), including the process of creating Option 9, which was the selected alternative. He follows by contrasting BLM and Forest Service attempts to implement the NWFP and differences between forestry operations and regulations in Oregon and Washington.

When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the NWFP, Franklin outline significant differences between the east and west sides of the Cascade crest, and goes on to describe efforts he and colleague Norm Johnson made to try to move implementation of the NWFP forward, such as with BLM and Secretary Salazar. He discusses vulnerabilities of Pacific Northwest forests to climate change, insects, and Executive Branch actions.

The interview concludes with Franklin’s reflections on several individuals he worked with over the years in science and in policy-related activities, beginning with Jack Ward Thomas, and then his thoughts on what might be involved in a revision of the NWFP.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jerry Forest Franklin (yes, that is his middle name) was schooled at Oregon State (MS, forest management) and Washington State Universities (PhD, Botany). He immediately went to work for the PNW Research Station and conducted a wide variety of silviculture and forest ecology research projects, and teamed up with fellow Forest Service scientist Ted Dyrness to publish the book Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, which remains the go-to characterization of vegetation of the region. Through the 1970s and first half of the 1980s he led ecosystem research at the Andrews Forest under the International Biological Program and Long-Term Ecological Research programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation. A hallmark of his science career has been to lead interdisciplinary groups and undertake high-profile research installations and synthesis publications. In 1987 he moved to a professorship at U. of Washington and continued his leadership in forest ecology research, especially of old-growth forests, and advocated for forest management grounded in ecosystem science. As controversy about federal forest management heated up around 1990, he was called upon repeatedly to provide input to Congress and other federal officials through processes culminating in the FEMAT, leading to the NWFP. Throughout his career he operated effectively in the realms of ecological sciences (e.g., he was elected president of the Ecological Society of America), forestry (e.g., he was recipient of a major science achievement award from the Society of American Foresters), and in consultations concerning forest land management and policy. During FEMAT he was a member of the Terrestrial Ecology Group and played a central role in merging the terrestrial and aquatic conservation strategies into Option 9, which was picked as the preferred plan.

Dublin Core

Title

Jerry Franklin Oral History Interview

Description

Jerry Franklin, a long-time champion of native forests, especially old growth, begins this interview describing his education at Oregon State University and PhD from Washington State University, and how he worked for the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the Forest Service during his undergraduate days. He outlines other critical elements of his early career, such as battling University of Washington faculty to get a piece of the International Biological Program (IBP) for Corvallis and fighting within Oregon State University to center the IBP work at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and on natural forests rather than plantations. Over this period (late 1960s, early 1970s) his own work and views shifted from traditional forestry to an ecosystem perspective as he began to learn about old-growth forests. He notes that Federal laws (e.g., the National Forest Management Act) called for this transition in perspective about forest management. He describes how a two-year rotation as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) was essential in the development of ecosystem science in the agency and birth of NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research program.

Next, he comments on how the cutting of old growth and the decline of the spotted owl populations collided and the big challenges this posed for agencies and members of Congress. Yet, he notes that he did not expect the changes that soon came. He describes how, as the “Forest Wars” commenced, a succession of projects provided science-based information to policy makers and Judge Dwyer, who had leveled injunctions on logging Federal timber. Franklin’s insider accounts touch on interactions with members of Congress and enlisting agency staff to map the distribution of remaining old forest as part of the Gang of 4 project.

Franklin speaks of his experience in the President Clinton’s Forest Summit and the subsequent Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team activities, which laid the foundation for the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), including the process of creating Option 9, which was the selected alternative. He follows by contrasting BLM and Forest Service attempts to implement the NWFP and differences between forestry operations and regulations in Oregon and Washington.

When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the NWFP, Franklin outline significant differences between the east and west sides of the Cascade crest, and goes on to describe efforts he and colleague Norm Johnson made to try to move implementation of the NWFP forward, such as with BLM and Secretary Salazar. He discusses vulnerabilities of Pacific Northwest forests to climate change, insects, and Executive Branch actions.

The interview concludes with Franklin’s reflections on several individuals he worked with over the years in science and in policy-related activities, beginning with Jack Ward Thomas, and then his thoughts on what might be involved in a revision of the NWFP.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jerry Forest Franklin (yes, that is his middle name) was schooled at Oregon State (MS, forest management) and Washington State Universities (PhD, Botany). He immediately went to work for the PNW Research Station and conducted a wide variety of silviculture and forest ecology research projects, and teamed up with fellow Forest Service scientist Ted Dyrness to publish the book Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, which remains the go-to characterization of vegetation of the region. Through the 1970s and first half of the 1980s he led ecosystem research at the Andrews Forest under the International Biological Program and Long-Term Ecological Research programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation. A hallmark of his science career has been to lead interdisciplinary groups and undertake high-profile research installations and synthesis publications. In 1987 he moved to a professorship at U. of Washington and continued his leadership in forest ecology research, especially of old-growth forests, and advocated for forest management grounded in ecosystem science. As controversy about federal forest management heated up around 1990, he was called upon repeatedly to provide input to Congress and other federal officials through processes culminating in the FEMAT, leading to the NWFP. Throughout his career he operated effectively in the realms of ecological sciences (e.g., he was elected president of the Ecological Society of America), forestry (e.g., he was recipient of a major science achievement award from the Society of American Foresters), and in consultations concerning forest land management and policy. During FEMAT he was a member of the Terrestrial Ecology Group and played a central role in merging the terrestrial and aquatic conservation strategies into Option 9, which was picked as the preferred plan.

Creator

Jerry Franklin

Source

Northwest Forest Plan Oral History Collection (OH 48)

Publisher

Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries

Date

November 15, 2016

Contributor

Samuel Schmieding

Format

Born Digital Audio

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Identifier

oh48-franklin-jerry-20161115

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Samuel Schmieding

Interviewee

Jerry Franklin

Location

Franklin residence, Issaquah, Washington

Original Format

Born Digital Audio

Duration

2:59:42

OHMS Object

Interview Format

audio