Nature & Science

Wildlife & Fish


Bat perched on the gloved hand of wildlife biologist White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that has killed over 6 million hibernating bats in North America since 2006.  This disease is caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which is often visible on the noses and skin of infected bats. The fungus thrives in cold temperatures in caves and mines. To learn more about this disease and how it impacts bats in central Oregon click here.




Science on the Deschutes

Mushroom in Hand









On his hands and knees, a man sifts through soil in a flagged off square patch of forest floor. Pulling his soil specimens from the ground, he places it in a sealed bag, labeling the exact GPS coordinates where he located it. At the end of the day, this specimen, and hundreds like it, will be shipped off to a lab for DNA testing. While the scene unfolding might sound a lot like a crime scene, this team of biologists and volunteers aren’t out to crack a case. They’re on the hunt for the prized American matsutake mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) in the name of providing information to resource specialists about how best to manage matsutake within forest stands to ensure healthy, long-term populations of the fungus. READ MORE

Learn more about the Matsutake with "Matsutake: The Mushroom Everyone's Talking About"!

Lava Lake Fen

A quick internet search of the word “fen” brings up a few scientific articles before delving off into the black hole that is obscurely searched for words in Google. Much like its existence in the online world, fens receive relative anonymity in the natural world. Often mistaken for meadows or poorly irrigated puddles in grass, this unique ecosystem supports an immense collection of diverse plant species and habitat. READ MORE

Do you know what a fen is? Learn more with "The Fen Phenomenon: An Elusive Ecosystem"!

The Soil Story

Soils are one of the most essential, and least often considered, natural resources in our environment. Soils are the life-sustaining foundation of forests, grasslands, and farms; they absorb precipitation, moderate stream flows, and prevent floods; they clean and store our drinking water; they store more carbon than the atmosphere and all living plants and animals combined; and are home to billions of creatures from large to microscopic. When you think about soil in central Oregon, what comes to mind? Home gardeners will bemoan its droughtiness and poor nutrient value. Mountain bikers think of summer dust clouds and deep sand traps. We’re all familiar with how it turns from mud to dust in a matter of days when the seasons change. Where did our soils come from? And how does our seemingly-poor soil manage to sustain so much life?

Learn more: Deschutes National Forest Soil Story

What is winter range?

Winter range is habitat deer and elk migrate to in order to find more favorable living conditions during the winter.  Winter range is found predominantly in lower elevations of central Oregon and is extremely important to mule deer survival.  Winter ranges usually have minimal amounts of snow cover and provide vegetation for forage, hiding cover, and protection from the weather.  In Oregon, mule deer migrate, often long distances, to lower elevations to escape or minimize exposure to snow cover. Keep Reading...

Bird Calls

Clark's Nutcracker


Accomplishment Reports








Invasive Plants & Animals

Alien in Flying SaucerMany areas on the Deschutes & Ochoco National Forests are under attack from dozens of invasive plants, animals, and pathogens. These exotic invaders disrupt the natural ecological balance, negatively impact the quality of our outdoor recreation experiences, decrease resources values, reduce access to these areas, and can threaten human health and safety. In addition the loss of outdoor recreation uses in an area due to invasive species infestations can also drastically impact local recreation-dependent economies.

Go to Invasive Plants & Animals

"Sharing Water"

A collaboration of federal and private partners - led by staff from the Deschutes National Forest – has produced an educational video about the upper Deschutes River for use with the Bend-La Pine School District’s middle school life science curriculum. The “Sharing Water” video, which is now available on YouTube, presents information about how water, and water conservation, is important to their community in a variety of ways.

Scientific Recommendations

Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project Steering Committee Recommendations