Tree Breeding

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Image inside greenhouse of young trees

Through genetics and classical tree breeding researchers are working to influence the quality of hardwood trees by developing populations with superior growth and timber characteristics, including straighter boles and reduced branching. Resistance to insects and diseases and other stressors is also an important trait for hardwood species. Research focus is on black walnut, black cherry, white and red oak for quality and growth improvement….Read More

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Genetics, Genomics, & Tissue Culture

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Research

The focus of this work is to investigate the genetic mechanisms by which key aspects of tree growth and development are controlled at the molecular level. Our primary goal is to add value to fine hardwood tree species by genetically engineering them to express genes that impart commercially and environmentally beneficial traits.

Active research projects include efforts to insert genes that affect the onset of maturation and the production of flowers, insect resistance, and herbicide tolerance, among others. Researchers are also trying to identify genes that regulate the transition from sapwood to heartwood and the formation of figured wood, which is highly valued but rarely occurs in nature…. Read More

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Forest Ecology & Silviculture

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Forest

Forest ecology research focuses on the interactions between disturbance and abiotic factors and their influence on ecosystem structure and function. Current research projects include exotic disease effects on nutrient cycling, invasion dynamics of exotic plants following the restoration of native disturbance regimes, and modeling the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors on IES invasion. Research on host colonization and mating behaviors of wood boring beetles will improving methods for detecting invasive species to improve the health, quality, and productivity of hardwood forests. Silvicultural research focuses on improvement of growth and yields within intensively… Read More

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Regeneration & Restoration

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Field

Research is focused on factors that will optimize performance of seedlings from the nursery through establishment in the field. Plant mineral nutrition, cold hardiness, stress resistance, dormancy, and drought resistance are areas of research designed to create hardier and more tolerant seedlings. After establishment in the field, studies focus on planting design, fertilization, and browse and vegetative control. Improvements in this process will lower mortality and accelerate growth, allowing more successful stand establishment. A set of management guides to transfer this research into practical field applications was developed….Read More

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