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If a tree falls in the forest...
Glenn Matlack can do something about it

May 11, 2007
By Breanne Smith

Assistant Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Glenn Matlack has been working to preserve trees in the forest for quite some time, but now he'll be working to protect them another way: on paper.

Glenn Matlack photo by Rick FaticaHe has been appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland as the research representative on the state's Forest Advisory Council, a group of seven stakeholders who make recommendations to the Division of Forestry and Reclamation on forest policy in Ohio. 

Matlack will serve for five years representing research scientists as he contributes his views at quarterly meetings in Columbus. His research at Ohio focuses on eastern deciduous forest ecology.

"This is an opportunity for me to take the sort of issues I think about as a scientist and translate them into public policy, which is often decades behind what we as scientists can see on a day-to-day basis," Matlack said.

He hopes to influence policy in a way that would help recognize the diverse value of forests to the people of Ohio, saying that though forests may be most easily associated with lumber, they offer recreation and tourism opportunities and protect biological diversity as well.

"A forest is not just about trees," he said. "But protecting the tree community ensures that all the other life in the forest is protected."

Matlack hopes to educate others about the differences among forest types. Long-established forests do not have the same diversity value as young forests, he said. It may take 100 years for one small type of plant to grow, and old areas of forest are disproportionately diverse due to certain areas of older growth and specialized species.

He welcomes e-mails related to Ohio's forestry issues and can be contacted at matlack@ohio.edu

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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