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Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems

Silviculture and Forest Management

Biologically-effective and economically-feasible silvicultural treatments are needed for managing, rehabilitating, and regenerating oak forests and forests impacted by invasive species.  Changes in fire frequency, deer impact, harvesting patterns, invasive insects and pathogens, and their interactions have all contributed to oak regeneration failures. As a result, oak regeneration is less than adequate to sustain species composition.  Science-based solutions to regeneration problems and biological invasions are critical to sustaining oak forests.  Silvicultural treatments such as removal of large overstory trees, removal of dead/dying or infested trees, and stand thinning alter stand species composition, light and other environmental conditions, regeneration, and tree health.  Such responses may reduce the susceptibility of trees to infestation or impacts of invasive species.  Regeneration and replanting of resistant stock, less susceptible trees, or surrogate species creates ecosystems that are more resilient to invasive species.  Our research leads to management guidelines and silvicultural prescriptions that sustain the regeneration, diversity, and productivity of oak forests and ecosystems impacted by invasive species.