Passing of Bob Powers, cofounder of CFSC and Forest Soils icon

Dear CFSC Colleagues,

We heard the sad news of the passing of Bob Powers from three of our colleagues – see their emails and tributes below.  Bob Powers was a founding member of the California Forest Soils Council and a great contributor to the field of forest soil science.  It is with a heavy heart that we pass on this news.

The memorial service for Bob Powers will be held December 15 at 2-5 pm in Redding at the Shasta Senior Nutrition Center (100 Mercy Oaks Drive; 530-226-3070).  It will be catered, and Ann  his wife would  like a slide show with pictures of Bob rotating in the background, so if you have choice pictures we could include please send them to Jianwei Zhang (

Ann also would like to extend her contact information with an open invitation to call or write.  Please let us know if you would like to call or write and we can get you in contact with her. Thank you all, it means a lot.  Also feel free to visit and add to the electronic guest book:

—–Original Message—– From: Ronald D. Taskey Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2013 7:20 AM

Bob Powers was one of the founding members and a strong supporter of the California Forest Soils Council. With his highly relevant research and gift for communicating its results and implications, Bob was among the best at linking science and practice. Countless among us who appreciate forest-soil relationships will deeply miss this strong voice of knowledge, experience, and advocacy for applying scholarship to forest management.

With sadness,

Ron  Taskey

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: Jim Boyle

Sent: Saturday, November 2, 2013 8:00:55 PM

With deep sadness I send news that Bob Powers died yesterday, Friday 1 November, in the Redding, California hospital. His wife, Ann, was with him. Bob has suffered for more than a year with a relatively rare form or lymphoma.

As most of you readers of this know, Bob has been a dynamic, innovative leader in forest soils research for more than 30 years. A Google Scholar search for R F Powers, or Robert Powers, and forest soils, will lead you to some of Bob’s more than 100 research publications. During some time together in late September at a favorite trout-fishing cabin Bob was enthusiastically discussing with me a manuscript in progress.



James R. Boyle

Professor Emeritus

College of Forestry, Oregon State University


Hello All,

It is with sadness and still a little disbelief that I inform you Bob Powers passed away on Friday, November 1st. It was not widely publicized, but certainly not a secret, that he’d been dealing with a rare form of leukemia-lymphoma for the last couple years, and receiving specialized chemo treatments.  His treatment regimen was evolving, as it wasn’t having great success, but the disease wasn’t advancing much either, a very slow progression.  The lymphoma recently appeared in the lungs and kidneys, and the inevitable was not possible to long delay.

Thus he was able to live well the last few years – he was still actively working on select studies and getting out on vacations, most always mixed in with fishing of course.  He took a trip to Glacier National Park and Seattle recently in July/August.  His work and his stream miles are behind him now.

To me Bob was first an idol in college, eventually a boss and mentor for the better part of a decade, and since his retirement a close colleague and friend.  He was a unique yin & yang of ego and humility, and I’ve learned several ‘life lessons’ from him.  I will miss our sparring over the relative merits of cats vs. dogs, his humorous emails (many forwarded from Phil Aune…), his photos & essays of his travels and adventures with Ann, and so much more.  He will be missed by a great many, but by none greater than his wife Ann.

Please forward this to your networks and those I may have either overlooked or simply don’t have their email.  I don’t think I can possibly include all those who would care to know.

Thanks to all, Dave

David Young

USDA Forest Service – Pacific Southwest Region (R5)

Regional North Zone Soil Scientist; BAER soils specialist

Stationed at:  Shasta-Trinity National Forest

3644 Avtech Parkway, Redding CA

Memorial for Ted Dyrness – Scientist and Gentleman

In the company of his loving family Ted Dyrness died August 28, 2010, after a brief illness.  Ted was born and raised in Wheaton, IL, and attended Wheaton College, majoring in ancient history.  An introductory botany class diverted him to plant sciences and a summer working in the woods of the Washington Cascades hooked him on the big forests and wilderness of the West.  So, he came west for graduate school in soil science at Oregon State University (then College) and, upon graduation, joined the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station as a soil scientist in 1959 working out of the Corvallis Forestry Sciences Lab.

Ted’s early studies of forest soils and vegetation in the Alsea River basin of the Oregon Coast Range and in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest set a foundation for his career and for the work of several large, interdisciplinary research teams. His personal work addressed both basic characterization of the land and applied studies of effects of land management on forests, soil, and watersheds.  He teamed with Jerry Franklin on two major contributions – publication of the still-widely-used book Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington in 1973 and leadership of the Conifer Forest Biome which brought together Forest Service and university scientists in interdisciplinary studies at the Andrews Forest as part of the International Biological Program.

In 1974, Ted and family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was leader of a research team of a dozen scientists comprising the Forest Service’s Institute of Northern Forestry.  A central theme of the group was to advance our understanding of the boreal (taiga) forest covering a vast area of interior Alaska. As in Oregon, he teamed up with academic colleagues (this time at University of Alaska) to obtain a series of grants from the National Science Foundation, culminating in the highly interdisciplinary Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research project.  Early phases of this work focused on soil and vegetation development along a chronosequence of floodplains and terraces on the Tanana River.

Ted retired in 1990, returned to balmy western Oregon, and renewed his engagement with the Andrews Forest program.  He helped bring early soil descriptions and long-term vegetation data into forms readily accessible by others, led an analysis of climate and streamflow of the major 1996 flood, and contributed to several history projects.  This work reflects Ted’s desire to help the next generation of scientists capitalize on the excellent work of the early era of forest science in the region, to which he contributed so much.

Warm friendship, careful research, and quiet, steady leadership marked Ted’s career.  His legacies live on in long-term studies and the skills and spirit of people engaged in interdisciplinary research in central Alaska and western Oregon.  We thank him.


Interview for the Spring 2008 issue of the Andrews Forest newsletter (

Geier, Max G. 2007. Necessary work: discovering old forests, new outlooks, and community on the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, 1948-2000. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-687. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 357 p.  ( )  (Max interviewed Ted on several occasions for that book)

Correspondent:  Fred Swanson,