18th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference Held in Knoxville

Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo by National Park Service.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo by National Park Service.

The first week of March, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and the University of Tennessee (UT) hosted nearly 250 scientists and silvicultural specialists in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the 18th Annual Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference (BSSRC).  The conference boasted attendance from academic, international, state, federal, private, and non-governmental institutions and agencies from across the Unites States and parts of Asia. Conference sessions focused on :

  • pine silviculture, including such topics as nutritional amendments, vegetation management and site preparation, and natural and artificial regeneration;
  • hardwood natural and artificial regeneration, intermediate treatments, midstory competition control, and growth and yield; as well as broader sessions on
  • water quality, forest health, fire, economics, and wildlife ecology.

“Each of these topics is directly related to the proper and sustainable management of our nation’s forests,” said Chris Oswalt, SRS research forester who helped organize the conference with SRS research forester Callie Schweitzer and UT forestry professor Wayne Clatterbuck.

“The BSSRC helps Forest Service scientists make direct contact with practitioners from not only federal land management agencies, but privately and publicly held corporate institutions,” Oswalt added. “Direct contact with a wide array of practitioners and other scientists allows Forest Service scientists to strengthen local research programs and as a result, the entire research portfolio of the Forest Service.”

The Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference (BSSRC) has been in existence since the late William F. Mann, Jr. suggested at the 1978 coordination meeting between the Forest Service Southern and Southeastern Forest Experiment Stations “that those meetings be replaced by a series of regional conferences that would provide a forum for coordination of research as well as an opportunity for silviculturists to periodically meet.” The first BSSRC was formally organized by James P. Barnett, now SRS emeritus scientist, with help from the following:

  • David L. Bramlett, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Macon, Georgia,
  • Tommy R. Dell, Southern Forest Experiment Station, New Orleans, Louisiana,
  • William R. Hams, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Charleston, South Carolina,
  • Klaus Steinbeck, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, and
  • George L. Switzer, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi.

Started around 1980, BSSRC provides a forum where scientists and practitioners actively engaged in the broad field of silviculture can report their study results, present new concepts and techniques, discuss topics of mutual interest, coordinate cooperative efforts, and  stay current on developments in the field.  Scientists, foresters, landowners, and anyone else related to forest management have found the conferences and their proceedings to be valuable sources of information on current and developing trends in southern silviculture.

The Forest Service has since been a proud partner with southern forestry schools to organize and host this meeting ever since. The BSSRC is generally accepted as the venue of choice for the sharing and dissemination of practical southern silviculture research.

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