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About the Book

This book is written for those concerned about the sustainability of natural resources. It describes how Washington State’s forests and the practice of forestry have changed through time and how these changes relate to the research and courses taught in the College of Forest Resources (CFR), now the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) at the University of Washington (UW) for more than 120 years. It describes forestry education and research at UW from 1895 to 2018 in relation to the practice of forestry in Washington over the years. It should be of interest to current and future students, alumni, current and emeritus faculty, other forestry schools in the nation, school teachers, the general public, and international readers. Its scope extends beyond Washington, with many of the principles of sustainable forestry developed by faculty having been adopted worldwide.


When the first Euro-American settlers arrived in Seattle in the 1850s, they rapidly harvested the magnificent old-growth forests for lumber, causing environmental degradation and displacing native peoples.  Forests were left to regenerate on their own before tree planting started in earnest in the early 1950s.


Early logging caused considerable environmental damage not only to forest ecosystems, but also to forest streams and salmon. Conflicts among utilitarians, conservationists, and preservationists about forest management ruled the day. Only about 10 percent of the original old-growth remains now. Today, academics, government agencies, industry, small private landowners, tribes, and environmental organizations are coming together to develop plans to protect the remaining old-growth forests, and their associated wildlife, streams, and fish; retain ecosystem biodiversity; and practice sustainable forestry. The aim is to produce forests that are less susceptible to fire, insects, diseases and soil erosion, preserve biodiversity, produce forest products, and foster public enjoyment. However, conflicts about forest management still exist – and with climate change a looming threat, it is important to realize that forests give us much more than lumber.


The book’s fourteen chapters include an introduction; a brief history of the years before the 1960s; an overview of the period from the 1960s on; CFR/SEFS administration and structure; the deans, associate deans, division chairs, and directors; contributions of the faculty and staff; the students; academic programs; research; continuing education and outreach; the history of the forestry buildings on campus; the UW Botanic Gardens (UWBG) – the Arboretum, the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) and the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA); College Forests – Pack Forest, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC), and other CFR properties; international connections; and finally, some thoughts on the future. The appendices include: (A) a list of files available on the UW digital repository site ResearchWorks, (B) faculty books, and (C) sources of research funding.

The material in Appendix A can be viewed online at the website:

External articles

Emeritis professor Robert Edmonds pens history of forestry science at the UW.

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