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Saving Forest Ecosystems: A Century Plus of Research and Education at

the University of Washington.

John A. Helms

Professor Emeritus

Rausser College of Natural Resources

University of California, Berkeley

Professor Robert L. Edmonds’ attractive, ‘coffee-table style’ (11 ½ x 9 inches), well-illustrated Saving Forest Ecosystems: A Century Plus of Research and Education at the University of Washington. Archway Publishing, IN, 2021, 216 pp, is an engaging account of the forests, forestry, and forestry education in the State of Washington. In 14 chapters it covers the earliest exploration of the Pacific Northwest, displacement of Native American Tribes, exploitive logging, patriarchs of Northwest forestry, impacts of the spotted owl and development of the Northwest Forest Plan, transition to management of ecosystems, and concurrent changes in forestry education.


A section on College administration traces the succession of deans, directors, division chairs, faculty and staff. Sections on students, alumni, academic programs, research, outreach, buildings, properties, and associated gardens provide a very comprehensive overview of the remarkable roles of the University and forestry faculty in contributing to the broad fabric of forestry in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world. Short, selected biographies of 20 faculty, 13 undergraduates, and 8 graduates illustrate the broad range of teaching, research, and outreach activities and careers.


The book also reflects the personal journey of the author – a transplanted Australian forester who became a UW alum and had a 38-year career as faculty member and administrator in the College. His passion for forestry, love for his adopted home, and personal comments provide a unifying thread that makes the book so enjoyable to read.


In an important section Edmonds discusses very frankly the difficult, organizational changes at UW resulting in the transition of the College of Forestry that most alums fondly remember to the current School of Environmental and Forest Sciences – a transition similar to that which other universities in the US and Australia have also experienced. Edmonds concludes with his take on the future of forests, forestry, and forestry education in Washington State – you’ll have to read the book to gain his insights.


The breadth of coverage of the book, style of writing, and links to the internet make the book very accessible and enjoyable to browse. It constitutes a valuable resource that should be read by faculty and administrators across campus at the UW and other universities, current and future students, and all people interested in how changing forests and forestry have shaped, and been shaped by, the remarkable faculty and programs of the UW ‘college of forestry’. It is available as hardback, soft cover and as an eBook.

July 21, 2021

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