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Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies

Energy, climate, and tree genetics for managing forest ecosystems

[photo:] Example of short rotation poplars grown for energy, fiber, and phytotechnologies.  Photo by Ron Zalensy, US Forest Service Northern Research Station.Attention to scaling concepts reveals powerful emerging relationships between energy, forestry and agriculture. The American people face an uncertain energy future while at the same time concerns have emerged about the ability of the landscape to produce sufficient biomass to serve as a replacement feedstock for oil. A related issue is the future capability of existing forests under different ownership categories to meet changing demands for fiber and fuel and how the supply of wood can be augmented by plantations and other intensively managed forests. Further speculation has emerged regarding the effect of fossil fuel use on climate and the extent to which climate change might alter patterns of plant genetic adaptation to the landscape. We have addressed these issues by defining research goals and studies in the genetics and benefits of bioenergy plantations and the patterns of tree and forest adaptation to climate change.

Research Goals

Optimize the deployment of cellulose-based bioenergy plantations in the northern region of the United States and determine the regional implications of widespread intensive-culture plantations for bioenergy, fiber, and environmental benefits.

Evaluate the impact of climate change on patterns of tree adaptation by utilizing legacy data and newly collected data from 80 years of conifer seed source and progeny tests.

Selected Research

Last Modified: 04/12/2012