The mission of the HTIRC includes the development and dissemination of knowledge related to the improvement of the genetic quality of hardwoods, the conservation of fine hardwood germplasm, and the restoration and regeneration of sustainable hardwood forests. Our research spans a multitude of scales, from DNA and single cells to landscapes, from species that are common to some that are endangered, and it requires the application of statistical, molecular, classical, and population genetics. By establishing improvement programs for many of the most valuable fine hardwood species, we expect to deliver trees that better meet the expectations of public and private forestland owners in the Central Hardwood Region. Specific research areas under investigation include:
1). The application of classical and molecular genetic approaches to understand the genetics of heartwood formation, a poorly characterized developmental process that has profound implications for the value of hardwoods.
2). The development of advanced breeding populations of black walnut, black cherry, northern red oak, white oak, and American chestnut.
3). Research into the conservation genetics of butternut and the development of plans for breeding and reintroducing butternut that is resistant to butternut canker.
4). The reproductive biology of managed fine hardwoods.
To integrate hardwood tree improvement with every aspect of the production and marketing of hardwood products we collaborate with silviculturists, nursery specialists, extension specialists, forest managers and consulting foresters, pathologists, phylogeneticists, wood products specialists, and a wide array of private companies, government agencies, university faculty, and non-governmental organizations.
Link to Selected Publications