Photo of Todd Hutchinson

Todd Hutchinson

Research Ecologist
359 Main Road
Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-368-0064

Current Research

Long-term vegetation dynamics following thinning and repeated fires in mixed-oak forests.

Tree regeneration in shelterwood stands treated with herbicide and/or prescribed fire.

White oak (Quercus alba) seedling response to midstory removal via herbicide.

Herbaceous layer response to overstory mortality caused by Emerald Ash Borer.

Effectiveness of a native fungal wilt-causing pathogen (Verticillium nonalfalfae) as a biological control for the invasive tree Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven).

Research Interests

Oak regeneration and sustaining mixed-oak forests

Fire ecology of oak woodlands and forests

Fire history of oak and oak-pine forest types

Understory plant composition and diversity in response to environmental gradients and disturbance.


Ph.D. in Ecology
Ohio State University
M.S. in Botany
Miami University
B.A. in Biology
University of Louisville

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America, (—)
  • Torrey Botanical Society, (—)
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF), (—)

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Insights from a 250-year history of fire in the Appalachian Plateau of Ohio and Kentucky (2017)
NRS-2017-44 In many eastern U.S. forests, undesirable shifts in tree species abundance are occurring. For oaks and pines, it is widely believed that the decreased frequency of fire over the last 75-100 years has played a major role in their decline.

Repeated Prescribed Fires Help Sustain Oak Regeneration in Eastern Forests (2012)
NRS-2012-36 Research findings can help managers in their quest to sustain this forest type throughout Eastern North America

Shift Toward Mesophytic Species in Oak Forests May Limit Fire Reintroduction (2016)
NRS-2016-170 Exclusion of fire from eastern mixed-oak forests is widely understood to be an important explanation for difficulty in regenerating oaks. Forest Service scientists studied whether the change in species composition of forest floor litter, as species composition shifts to more mesophytic and less fire tolerant species over time, could be a barrier to successful use of fire to restore oak ecosystems.

The Devil is in the Details for Regeneration Success in Mixed-oak Forests (2015)
NRS-2015-147 To improve oak regeneration, Forest Service scientists are studying shelterwood harvest with herbicide and prescribed fire treatments. Although large oak seedlings have developed after the partial harvest, competition from non-oak saplings is intense even after herbicide treatment. The combined use of herbicide and fire is being evaluated.

Understanding Long-Term Impacts of an Invasive, Tree-Killing Pest (2019)
NRS-2019-108 The emerald ash borer has been killing ash trees in the United States for more than two decades. What does that mean for ash populations and the forest ecosystems? Long-term monitoring plot data collected by USDA Forest Service scientists and partners is helping to elucidate the impacts of this invasive pest and to plan management and conservation strategies.