Factors Affecting regeneration of hard mast species in the central hardwood region

Factors Affecting Regeneration of Hard Mast Species in the Central Hardwood Region project, photo of forest groundcover.Forests in the eastern United States is in danger of widespread conversion from oak, a foundational species group, to more shade tolerant trees due to fire suppression, poor harvesting practices, and a variety of other factors. This shift would reduce ecological resilience and significantly change the ecological and economic services provided by these forests.

This project gained in-depth knowledge of the regeneration dynamics of both oak (Quercus) and American chestnut (Castanea dentata), a former foundational species in eastern forests. Using both the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Crane Expanding Gap studies, researchers are monitoring regeneration survival and growth after many management practices.

This research demonstrated that the blight-resistant American chestnut can be successfully reintroduced to understories in eastern deciduous forests due to its ability to thrive in shady environments. Oak, on the other hand, requires more disturbance and germinates better with assistance of scatterhoarding small mammals.

Collaboration, research was presented at 5 conferences or educational meetings.
The three scientific publications that came from this project included contributors from seven universities as well as the USDA Forest Service and the Canadian Ministry of Forest and Wildlife.
In this project’s final year, research was presented at five conferences or educational meetings
 
 
Project Director: Dr. Michael Saunders
10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017

Print/Research
Impact, 180 species of birds and ammals use oak acorns for food, 35% oak species timber sales nationally, 50 to 100 year studies.
 
Over the last 100 years, forests in the Eastern U.S. have lost or are in danger of losing several foundational tree species, including American chestnut and oak.
Species of birds and mammals that use oak acorns as food
Oak species provided 35% of the timber sales nationally from 2013-2017
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and Crane Expanding Gap studies are intended to last 50-100 years to monitor regeneration dynamics

Learn More About Us

Bitternut hickory leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Bitternut Hickory

Meet the bitternut hickory or Carya cordiformis. This cousin of the pecan, has anywhere from five...

Read More
Nearshore southern Lake Michigan coastline during sunset.
Research Looks at Changes in Lake Michigan Nearshore Fish Assemblage

How has the nearshore fish assemblage in Lake Michigan changed over the last 40 years and what...

Read More
Sophomore wildlife major Emma Johnson holding a bald eagle skull, presenting her Anyone Can Bird program for the first time at Vega State Park.
FNR Field Report: Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson, a sophomore wildlife major from Luray, Virginia, had a two-fold internship as an...

Read More
A bobcat in Indiana
Researchers Develop Tools to Assess Habitat Selection, Suitability for Bobcats

Former postdoctoral researcher Landon Jones along with Drs. Rod Swihart and Pat Zollner and...

Read More
Hackberry leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Hackberry

Meet the hackberry or Celtis occidentalis. This species is easily identified by its lopsided,...

Read More
Leaves of a sweetgum tree
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Sweetgum

Meet sweetgum or Liquidambar styraciflua. This species is easily identified by its leaves, which...

Read More