This theme carries forward the tradition of ecological forestry in southeastern longleaf pine ecosystems begun by Herbert Stoddard and Leon Neel that became known as the Stoddard-Neel approach to forest management.
The growing interest in longleaf pine restoration and management creates a need to expand knowledge of how to balance the management of these forests for both ecological and economic goals.
One field experiment contrasts stands managed under the Stoddard-Neel system using single-tree selection with other approaches to uneven-aged management, such as group selection with green-tree retention.
A second field experiment tests management strategies for adaptation to climate change stress.
All research projects emphasize quantitative measurement of two key processes: prescribed fire for modulating competition between resprouting hardwoods and regenerating longleaf pine, and water availability as the key limiting growth resource. Future horizons are to develop means of scaling our research up beyond the scope of the stand to provide guidance for managing entire landscapes.