Photo of Don C. Bragg

Don C. Bragg

Project Leader
P.O. Box 3516 UAM
Monticello, AR 71656-3516
Phone: 870-367-3465
Fax: 870-367-1164

Current Research

  • Silviculture of naturally regenerated pine and pine-hardwood ecosystems in the southeastern U.S.
  • Height measurement and modeling techniques
  • Applied historical ecology and the history of forestry
  • Ecology and management of old-growth forests in the Midsouth
  • Ice storm impacts on the ecology and management of southern forests
  • Composition, structure, biomass, and productivity of southern pine-dominated ecosystems
  • Modeling forest dynamics using simulation models

Research Interests

In addition to the current research programs listed above, I am also interested in disturbance ecology, the role of humans in the development of historic and current forests, the evolution of landscapes and their corresponding vegetative communities, and the role of natural resource technology transfer in education and professional development.

I have long been fascinated by the role people played in the development of forests. This includes prehistoric peoples, the historic lumbering period, and more recent management practices and trends. I am particularly interested in how human impacts have shaped the structure, composition, and function of our forests, and how we can adapt knowledge of past forest communities to help shape and improve contemporary silvicultural practices.

One specific example of the evolution of landscapes is the formation of "prairie mounds" in the Midsouth. These natural-origin circular mounds are very abundant across much of the region, but we still know almost nothing about them. Evidence suggests they may be relicts of prehistoric climate extremes (primarily megadroughts), but we lack convincing information to definitively show that this was the origin of these features. I'm also intrigued by the seismic history of this portion of the US, especially as it relates to the formation of sand blows, a liquefaction feature found in a surprising number of areas in a previously thought stable area.

Past Research

  • The birdseye grain abnormality in sugar maple
  • Riparian large woody debris recruitment


Ph.D. in Forest Ecology, 1999
Utah State University
M.S. in Forestry, 1995
Michigan Technological University
B.S. in Forestry, 1992
Michigan Technological University

Professional Experience

GS-14 Research Forester, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
GS-13 Research Forester, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
GS-12 Research Forester, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Michigan

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

How Do Insects, Diseases, and Weather Disturbances Interact? An Assessment of Current Knowledge for the South (2020)
SRS-2020-27 Forests in the northern and western U.S. and Europe have been well-studied in terms of wind disturbance and subsequent insect infestations. However, those relationships are not as clear in the southern U.S. USDA Forest Service researchers synthesized the state-of-the-knowledge around weather disturbances and their interactions with forest pests and pathogens in the South. While some phloem-feeding bark beetles increase in dead and dying trees following disturbance, there are no published data supporting anecdotal reports that southern pine beetle may reach outbreak status as a result of weather disturbances.  

Research Reveals Age-based Lessons from Decades of Uneven-aged Harvests (2015)
SRS-2015-245 Seventy-two years of uneven-aged silviculture has had a profound influence on the development of two pine-dominated stands on the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas. Examination of the age structure of these stands led scientists to a better understanding of the structure and function of multi-aged forests and to suggestions for a range of management options.

Reviewing the Impacts of Drought on Forests of the United States (2016)
SRS-2016-181 Changing climate, especially increased temperatures and lower rainfall, and land management practices have the potential to dramatically influence forest conditions in the U.S. Forest Service scientists and their partners surveyed the technical literature to assemble hundreds of different studies and documented the implications of drought on forest dynamics, structure, diversity, and management options.