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Forest Biology

An image of loblolly pine needles

This research area aims to understand the biological processes that influence how trees grow, and how the physiological mechanisms of trees regulate ecosystem processes.

Main research themes across our faculty include

  • Water, carbon, and nitrogen cycling in forest ecosystems
  • Forest harvest scheduling
  • Landscape planning
  • Resource assessments
  • GIS, GPS, and emerging technologies for forest assessments
  • Forest pests and disturbance ecology

Graduate Degrees in Forest Biology

Tree growth and the development of forest stands are both controlled by a complex suite of biological and physical factors. The primary goal of the Forest Biology program is to generate and maintain healthy, productive forests by studying basic biological processes that influence forest development and function. The interaction of these processes with each other and with the physical environment also are studied by many of our faculty. Areas of specialization within Forest Biology include biotechnology, ecology, genetics, physiology, silviculture and soils. Integration of areas is encouraged.


Forest Biology can be pursued under the MNR, MS, and PhD degree programs. To pursue Forest Biology as an official area of emphasis, the following courses are required for each degree:

  Course ID Name


Choose at least 1: FORS 8030 Advanced Tree Physiology 3
  FORS 8100 Advanced Forest Ecology 3
Electives: FORS 6210 Forest Health and Protection 3
  FORS 8080 Forest Health Seminar Series 1
  FORS 8220/L Advances Forest Entomology 3
  FORS 8230/D Tree Resistance Mechanisms and Plant Defense Theories 3
  FORS 6010/L Silviculture 4
  FORS 6777 Precision Silviculture 3
  FORS 6030 Regional Silviculture 3
  WASR 6000/L Forest Soil Management 3
  FANR 8140 Functional Genomics 3
  PBIO 6500 Introduction to Gene Technology 3
  HORT 8150 Plant Growth and Development 3




















*Total of 9 hours required for the area of emphasis.



For general questions about pursuing a graduate degree at Warnell, contact a member of the graduate team:

Dr. Jacek Siry, Graduate Coordinator

Office: 4-501

Phone: 706-542-3060

Kate deDufour, Graduate Program Administrator

Office: 1-217

Phone: 706-542-1183

Prospective students should also contact faculty members for questions specific to this disciplinary area. Please check faculty members’ personal pages for information about their individual research interests and projects to ensure that you are contacting the most relevant ones.

Related Articles

CJ Tsai, W.N. “Hanks” Haynes Professor in Forest Biotechnology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar at the University of Georgia, has been a named a recipient of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Scientific Achievement Award.

Detailed research effort will help inform reforestation efforts

It’s easy to think of trees as part of the landscape. But what if the trees were the landscape?

We know a good bit about forests, and the factors that make a healthy one. But what about the trees that live across an urban landscape?  

On a patch of land in Central New York last year, researchers collected more than 11,000 chestnuts.

For decades, it’s been assumed that trees die from forest fires because they lose their leaves or the ability to move water within their trunks. In theory, they die of dehydration or starvation.


Forest Herbicides Invasive Plant Management Prescribed Fire Pine and Hardwood Regeneration Forest Restoration Forest Management

Patterns of invasion by non-native insects;  Community ecology;  Insect-plant interactions; Effects of forest disturbances on insects


My scientific interests are directed at quantifying how nutrient and hydrologic cycles control the chemistry of forest soils, drainage waters, and forest productivity. My research focuses on the management of the soil resource in an effort to maximize forest growth and to maintain ecosystem…

Current Research Areas

- Pine tip moth management

- Environmental effects of pesticide use in forests

- Hemlock woolly adelgid

- Aquatic insects





In vitro propagation of forest trees Somatic embryogenesis in forest trees Biotechnology for restoration of threatened tree species

Dr. Villari's main interests are the interactions among trees, fungal pathogens and insect herbivores, and related chemical ecology aspects, and she uses an interdisciplinary approach that involves ecological, metabolomic, and molecular analyses. In the course of her career, she has developed…

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