Photo of Stacy Clark

Stacy Clark

Research Forester
2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Room 274 EPSB
University of Tennessee, Dept. of Forestry, Wild., and Fish
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0932
Fax: 865-974-4714
stacyclark@fs.fed.us

Current Research

The scientist conducts research on artificial regeneration (i.e., planting) of oak (Quercus) and American chestnut (Castanea dentata) to restore and/or sustain these important species. This research is unique and innovative because the genetic heritage is known for all material, and seedlings are highly characterized prior to planting. The scientist examines the effects of seedling quality and factors that affect field performance after planting. Silvicultural treatments, including prescribed burning, herbicide treatments, and commercial timber operations, are tested to develop the most effective and economically efficient prescriptions that can be used to regenerate oak and American chestnut species through planting.

Past Research

The scientist uses tree-rings to reconstruct stand history and tree-climate interactions. The study of tree-rings (i.e., dendrochronology) is a robust and powerful tool that can assist managers in understanding natural processes that led to current forest conditions. Tree-ring research can also be used to predict responses to future man-made disturbance, natural disturbances, or changes in climatic conditions.

Why This Research is Important

OAK RESTORATION RESEARCH Oaks are highly valued species for wood products, as a hard-mast food source for wildlife, and for ecosystem resiliency and diversity. We can sustain or restore oak species through active forest management. Commercial forest management, herbicides, and prescribed fire can be used to improve the oak component by increasing available light and controlling non-oak species, but the challenge is developing practical prescriptions for various site types. Tree planting of oak seedlings can supplement natural oak regeneration when it is lacking or when large oak reproduction is needed immediately. Planting can be cost prohibitive and ineffective if seedling quality is poor or if planting is not coupled with the proper silvicultural treatment(s). Seedlings can be improved through cultural practices, and genetic selections are currently being tested. Locally adapted seedlings should be used for planting, but testing of seed sources for planting in warmer and drier environments should also be conducted.

AMERICAN CHESTNUT RESEARCH American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once a prolific tree species in the eastern United States and was highly valued for its wood, nuts, and aesthetics. The tree has been virtually extirpated by exotic pathogens from Asia, most notably, the chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). Advancements in genetic breeding for resistance to blight are being achieved, but prescriptions have not been widely accepted for planting and maintaining chestnut in natural forest communities where it once thrived. Technological advancements in commercial nursery production are in the early testing stages for this species. Early results indicate strategies for success in planting American chestnut are similar to oak species: use high-quality seedlings, protect from animal browse, plant in high-light environments, and reduce hardwood competition. American chestnut appears to have fast growth after overcoming planting shock and is competitive with most native tree species; however non-native pests including root rot caused by Phythophthora cinnamomi, have negatively impacted planting success. 

TREE-RING RESEARCH (DENDROCHROLOGY) The study of tree-rings allows us to understand how past disturbances and climate conditions created the stand conditions we see today. Managers can use this information to improve stand resiliency and adaptability to climate change, exotic pests, and other disturbances. Through analysis of tree rings, historical documents, and stand inventory data, we have discovered that many oak forests are shifting towards non-oak species. These predicted changes will result in decreased ecological diversity and function, and forests will be less valuable to wildlife species if no management action is taken. 

Education

Ph.D. in Plant Science, 2003
Oklahoma State University
M.S. in Forestry, 1999
The University of Tennessee
B.S. in Forest Resource Management, 1996
The University of Tennessee

Professional Organizations

  • The University Of Tennessee, Adjunct Faculty (2007—Current)
  • Natural Areas Association, Member (2004—Current)
  • Society Of American Foresters, Member (1997—Current)
  • The Forest Guild, Member (2017—)

Featured Publications and Products

Publications

R&D Affiliations
Research Topics
Priority Areas
SRS Science Area
Experimental Forests and Ranges
External Resources