HTIRC is a collaborative national research, development and technology transfer center for hardwood stewardship.
HTIRC researchers are working to advance the science of hardwood tree quality, growth, and insect and disease resistance.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Since the emerald ash borer’s introduction to the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, forest ecologists and government officials have striven to stem its destruction of ash forests. Despite those efforts, the invasive pest may be winning the war.
Mining 16 years of U.S. Forestry Service Forest Inventory Analysis data for 960 counties, Purdue University professor Songlin Fei has shown that in impacted areas, young trees are dying before they can reach their reproductive stages. Unable to compete with larger trees or resist the emerald ash borer, American ash trees may be doomed to functional extinction.
Mike Saunders, associate professor of ecology and natural resources, is the principal investigator on a project with the U.S. Forest Service that aims to answer those questions by determining the effects of prescribed fire on tree and stand quality, resulting potential lumber grade recovery and projected economic value.
The research, which is funded by the Join Fire Science program, also counts Jan Wiedenbeck, Dan Dey and Thomas Schuler of the Forest Service as co-PIs.
The group aims to quantify the relationship between average tree quality and time since inception of a prescribed fire application in a mature stand, to describe the relationship between lumber value recovery and visual fire damage characteristics on standing trees, and then apply those findings from tree-level to stand-level to determine lumber value recovery related to fire history in the oak-dominated stands.
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