Photo of Theodor D. Leininger

Theodor D. Leininger

Project Leader/Research Plant Pathologist
P.O. Box 227
Stoneville, MS 38776-0227
Phone: 662-336-4801

Research Interests

I have studied the production, protection and sustainable management of bottomland hardwoods for more than 20 years. In addition to my research and development of biofuels feedstock crop production systems for eastern cottonwood and black willow, I and my cooperators are developing disease resistance in American sycamore to be grown in plantations for pulpwood, biofuels feedstocks, and other natural products. I helped refine and promote the use of an eastern cottonwood-oak interplanting method developed by the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research to the point where the method has been used from 2007 to 2014 to plant more than 12 million hardwood trees on nearly 20,000 acres of formerly unproductive agricultural land in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.


Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology, 1988
Virginia Tech.
M.F. in Forestry, Plant Pathology, 1981
Duke University
B.S. in Biology, Forestry, 1980
Albright College

Professional Organizations

  • Louisiana Tech University, School of Forestry, Adjunct Faculty (2011—Current)
  • University of Mississippi, Department of Pharmacognosy, Adjunct Faculty (2011—Current)
  • Mississippi State University, College of Forest Resources, Adjunct Faculty (2008—Current)
  • Society of American Foresters, Forest Science, Associate Editor, Applied Research (2008—Current)

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Estimating impacts of extreme rainfall events for local watersheds (2018)
SRS-2018-45 Many future climate scenarios project impacts of climate variability on water quantity and quality. However, these scenarios may not be accurate and do not have flexibility for local and small watershed analyses. They are not able to answer questions such as: what will happen to stream flow, water quality, and water availability for a given local watershed if extreme rainfall events such as very dry summers and wet winters occur in the next ten years? This information is crucial to state and local water resource managers and stakeholders for implementing adaptive management practices on crop and forest lands.   

New research sheds light on fate of the imperiled pondberry plant (2017)
SRS-2017-144 Some consider pondberry to be the rarest shrub in the southeastern U.S. as it is found in only 36 populations distributed in six states. Forest Service researchers discovered that pondberry prefers to grow in partial sunlight rather than the heavy shade characteristic of dense forests. Active forest management practices that provide suitable light availability could help pondberry thrive and perhaps even resist other environmental stresses such as soil flooding.