Scientists & Staff

Dr. John Brown

John Brown

Research Forester
301 Hardwood Lane, Suite B
Princeton, WV, 24740
Phone: 304-431-2731

Contact John Brown

Current Research

  1. Developing site index curves for central Appalachian red spruce.
  2. Modeling growth and yield for red spruce and Appalachian Hardwoods, with emphasis on shade tolerant species.
  3. Examination of the effect of silvicultural treatment on tree grade.

Research Interests

Forest biometrics, Silviculture, Forest Disturbance, Energy Development Issues in Forestry.

Why This Research is Important

Growth and yield modeling is an important tool for consultants, land managers, and software developers with new models needing to be developed for Appalachian forests. Appalachian hardwoods are an important component of the area's hardwood forest products industry and the effects of silvicultural treatment on tree quality (tree grade) can further guide management's long term growing choices. Central Appalachian red spruce stands are endangered ecosystems in need of restoration.


  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , Doctor Of Philosophy Forestry and Forest Products (Forest Biometrics), 2009
  • Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, B.S. Environmental Science, 1994

Professional Experience

  • Research Forester, USDA Forest Service 2010 - Current
  • Mathematical Statistician, USDA Forest Service 2000 - 2009

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Two oak trees of different diameters after prescribed fire. The larger of the two, though charred higher up the bole, is more likely to survive.

Study reveals how to minimize overstory mortality when using shelterwood-burn techniques to restore oak forests

Year: 2017

Hardwood forests, and especially oak forests, in the eastern U.S. often require fire to create forest conditions suitable for successful stand regeneration from seeds. Today these conditions are most often achieved through use of prescribed fire; however, these fires put mature trees at risk. Forest Service scientists are studying how different stand treatments combined with prescribed fire can achieve desired regeneration results while minimizing tree mortality.

The NRS LT visiting the demonstration area via the Zero Grade Trail, which has universal access design features.

Forest management demonstration area highlights working forest

Year: 2017

New research published in 2017 describes the results of a 60-year forest management demonstration area on the Fernow Experimental Forest and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

The mean proportion of grade 1 butt logs for the diameter-limit, single tree selection, and partial cutting harvests as estimated at 15 year fixed intervals. USDA Forest Service

Silvicultural Prescriptions Affect Hardwood Tree Quality Over Five Decades of Management

Year: 2015

Analysis of 50-year records of harvests on the Fernow Experimental Forest in west Virginia by Forest Service scientists demonstrates that diameter-limit cutting is not a sustainable practice in regard to tree quality. In contrast, single-tree selection has not affected stand quality and is sustainable.

Proportion of grade one trees harvested over time for three harvest types. John Brown, USDA Forest Service.

Sustaining Tree Quality Under Three Harvesting Methods

Year: 2014

The quality of trees grown and harvested under various methods exhibits changing patterns over time. A Forest Service scientist studied three methods to determine the sustainability of the options over the long term. Although the number of trees harvested was initially significantly higher from both patch cutting and single tree selection, the percentage of trees cut from diameter-limit plots decreased over time whereas the patch cutting and single tree selection practices have increasing percentages. At close to fifty years, the practices have converged in percentages and suggest that the diameter practice is on an unsustainable curve while patch cutting and single tree selection are more sustainable choices.

Last modified: Tuesday, August 19, 2014