Tara L. KeyserCenter Director / Research Forester
Asheville, NC 28804
- Traditional and novel silvicultural methods to regenerate and restore oak in upland hardwood ecosystems of the southern US
- Ecological consequences of repeated burning on overstory, tree regeneration, and herbaceous layer communities in Appalachian hardwood stands
- Modeling regeneration using the REGEN model
- Seasonality of prescribed burning and effects on overstory, tree regeneration, and herbaceous layers
- Using novel silvicultural systems based, in part, on natural disturbances to restore ecological complexity in even-aged, homogeneous Appalachian hardwood forests
- The role on resource heterogeneity on the development of the regeneration and herbaceous layers in upland mixed-hardwood forests
- The effects of silvicultural treatments on the health and vigour of eastern hemlock trees affected by hemlock wooly adelgid
- Dendroecology and Carolina hemlock in the southern Appalachian Mountains
- Using prescribed fire to achieve stand- and landscape-level goals and objectives
- Restoration of ecological complexity - species, structural, and functional trait - to upland hardwood systems in the southern US
- Integrating elements of natural disturbances into traditional silvicultural treatments to increase ecological complexity
- The effects of disturbance, both anthropogenic and natural, on attributes of ecological complexity
Why This Research is Important
The forest systems of the southern Appalachian Highlands are diverse in their ecology, and their ability to provide the resources and services demanded by society including water, timber and biomass, recreation, wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and landscape diversity. Minor changes in topography greatly affect site productivity, species composition, competitive interactions, and response to disturbance. Our limited understanding of forest dynamics and ecological processes throughout stand development and across this complex landscape greatly inhibits land managers' ability to predict the response of vegetation to both planned silvicultural treatments and unplanned natural disturbance events. There is a need to improve our knowledge of the establishment and sustainability of forested systems under the influence of natural and silvicultural disturbances as well as under varying climatic scenarios. Silviculture is used by resource managers and forest planners to balance multiple-use with sustainability. Our efforts to predict and manage the dynamics of southern Appalachian forests under disturbances is directly tied to our ability to understand the differential responses of southern Appalachian tree species to both natural and anthropogenic (i.e., silvicultural) disturbances, including climate change. Quantification of the response to disturbance across environmental gradients will better enable natural resource practitioner to better predict changes in forest structure, composition, and habitat quality and to develop methods to meet management and restoration goals.
- Ph.D. in Forest Sciences, 2007
- Colorado State University
- M.S. in Forest Sciences, 2005
- Colorado State University
- B.S. in Forest Ecology and Management, 1994
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, RWU-4157
- Graduate Research Assistant, Colorado State University
- Biological Science Technician, USDA, Agriculture Research Service, National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation
- Forestry Technician, USDA, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station
- North Carolina State University, Adjunct Associate Professor (2018—Current)
- Western Carolina University, Adjunct Faculty (2015—Current)
- Colorado State University, Adjunct Faculty (2010—Current)
- University of Tennessee, Adjunct Faculty (2009—Current)
- Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society, Member (1998—Current)
- Society of American Foresters (SAF), Member (1996—Current)
Awards and Recognition
- USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 2012
- Early Career Scientist Director's Award
Featured Publications and Products
- Keyser, Tara L.; McDaniel, Virginia L.; Klein, Robert N.; Drees, Dan G.; Burton, Jesse A.; Forder, Melissa M. 2018. Short-term stem mortality of 10 deciduous broadleaved species following prescribed burning in upland forests of the southern US.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Arthur, Mary; Loftis, David L. 2017. Repeated burning alters the structure and composition of hardwood regeneration in oak-dominated forests of eastern Kentucky, USA.
- Keyser, Tara L. 2019. Resprouting by seedlings of four North American deciduous broadleaved tree species following experimental burning.
- Greenberg, Katie; Keyser, Tara; Zarnoch, Stan; Connor, Kris. 2012. Acorn viability following prescribed fire in upland hardwood forests.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Zarnoch, Stanley J. 2014. Stump sprout dynamics in response to reductions in stand density for nine upland hardwood species in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Keyser, Tara L. 2015. Effects of season of cut and residual overstory density on stump sprout growth and development.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Roof, Tracy L.; Adams, Jacquelyne L.; Simon, Dean; Warburton, Gordon. 2012. Effects of prescribed fire on the buried seed bank in mixed-hardwood forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Keyser, Tara; Smith, Frederick. 2009. Influence of Crown Biomass Estimators and Distribution on Canopy Fuel Characteristics in Ponderosa Pine Stands of the Black Hills.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Lentile, Leigh B.; Smith, Frederick W.; Shepperd, Wayne D. 2008. Changes in forest structure after a large, mixed-severity wildfire in ponderosa pine forests of the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA.
- Keyser, Tara; Malone, Joy; Cotton, Claudia; Lewis, Jeffrey. 2014. Outlook for Appalachian-Cumberland forests: a subregional report from the Southern Forest Futures Project.
- Arthur, Mary A.; Varner, J. Morgan; Lafon, Charles; Alexander, Heather D.; Dey, Daniel C.; Harper, Craig A.; Horn, Sally P.; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Keyser, Tara; Lashley, Marcus A.; Moorman, Christopher E.; Schweitzer, Callie. 2021. Fire Ecology and Management in Eastern Broadleaf and Appalachian Forests.
- Keyser, Tara; Loftis, David. 2021. Long-term effects of alternative partial harvesting methods on the woody regeneration layer in high-elevation Quercus rubra forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Báez Rivera, G. ; Cruz Aguilar, Ray E.; Pérez Méndez, Anthony; Rivera San Antonio, Jennifer; Túa Ayala, Génesis Z.; Keyser, Tara; Abelleira Martínez, Oscar J. 2021. Preliminary estimate of the immediate effects of Hurricane María on the tree structure and species composition of novel forests in the moist lowlands of Puerto Rico.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Collins, Beverly S.; Greenberg, Cathryn H. 2021. Response of taxonomic and functional diversity to disturbance severity in temperate hardwood forests.
- McNab, W. Henry; Keyser, Tara L. 2020. A vegetative index of stand productivity based on tree inventory for predicting oak site index in the Central Hardwood Region.
- McDaniel, Virginia L.; Keyser, Tara L.; De Jong, Gabriel L.; Guldin, James M. 2020. Managed wildfire, drought, and overstory survival: a case study in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.
- Gwaze, David ; Windmuller-Campione, Marcella ; Keyser, Tara ; Sweeney, Carrie . 2020. National Advanced Silviculture Program: A panel discussion.
- Kabrick, John M.; Clark, Kenneth L.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Delgado, Bethany L. Muñoz; Dey, Daniel C.; Kenefic, Laura S.; Kern, Christel C.; Keyser, Tara L.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; MacLean, David A.; Raymond, Patricia ; Schweitzer, Callie J.; Vickers, Lance A. 2020. Research and management partnerships for resolving regeneration and recruitment challenges in hardwood-softwood mixtures in eastern North America.
- Cansler, C. Alina; Hood, Sharon M.; Varner, J. Morgan; van Mantgem, Phillip J.; Agne, Michelle C.; Andrus, Robert A.; Ayres, Matthew P.; Ayres, Bruce D.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Battaglia, Michael A.; Bentz, Barbara J.; Breece, Carolyn R.; Brown, James K.; Cluck, Daniel R.; Coleman, Tom W.; Corace, R. Gregory; Covington, W. Wallace; Cram, Douglas S.; Cronan, James B.; Crouse, Joseph E.; Das, Adrian J.; Davis, Ryan S.; Dickinson, Darci M.; Fitzgerald, Stephen A.; Fulé, Peter Z.; Ganio, Lisa M.; Grayson, Lindsay M.; Halpern, Charles B.; Hanula, Jim L.; Harvey, Brian J.; Kevin Hiers, J. ; Huffman, David W.; Keifer, MaryBeth ; Keyser, Tara L.; Kobziar, Leda N.; Kolb, Thomas E.; Kolden, Crystal A.; Kopper, Karen E.; Kreitler, Jason R.; Kreye, Jesse K.; Latimer, Andrew M.; Lerch, Andrew P.; Lombardero, Maria J.; McDaniel, Virginia L.; McHugh, Charles W.; McMillin, Joel D.; Moghaddas, Jason J.; O’Brien, Joseph J.; Perrakis, Daniel D. B.; Peterson, David W.; Prichard, Susan J.; Progar, Robert A.; Raffa, Kenneth F.; Reinhardt, Elizabeth D.; Restaino, Joseph C.; Roccaforte, John P.; Rogers, Brendan M.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Safford, Hugh D.; Santoro, Alyson E.; Shearman, Timothy M.; Shumate, Alice M.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Smith, Sheri L.; Smith, Rebecca J.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Stuever, Mary ; Stevens, Jens T.; Stoddard, Michael T.; Thies, Walter G.; Vaillant, Nicole M.; Weiss, Shelby A.; Westlind, Douglas J.; Woolley, Travis J.; Wright, Micah C. 2020. The Fire and Tree Mortality Database, for empirical modeling of individual tree mortality after fire.
- Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Keyser, Tara L.; McNab, Henry; Scott, Patrick . 2019. Breeding bird response to season of burn in an upland hardwood forest.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Henry McNab, W. . 2019. Season of burn effects on vegetation structure and composition in oak-dominated Appalachian hardwood forests.
- Granger, Joshua J.; Buckley, David S.; Sharik, Terry L.; Zobel, John M.; DeBord, William W.; Hartman, Jason P.; Henning, Jason G.; Keyser, Tara L.; Marshall, Jordan M. 2019. Twenty-five-year effects of cutting and prescribed fire on northern red oak regeneration in Michigan oak and pine stands.
- Laseter, Stephanie H.; Vose, James M.; Guldin, James M.; Bragg, Don C.; Spetich, Martin A.; Keyser, Tara L.; Elliott, Katherine J.; Sayer, Mary Anne S.; Sung, Shi-Jean Susana. 2018. Experimental forests of the Southern Research Station: highlights of foundational silviculture studies.
- Granger, Joshua J.; Buckley, David S.; Sharik, Terry L.; Zobel, John M.; DeBord, William W.; Hartman, Jason P.; Henning, Jason G.; Keyser, Tara L.; Marshall, Jordan M. 2018. Northern red oak regeneration: 25-year results of cutting and prescribed fire in Michigan oak and pine stands.
- Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Seiboldt, Tyler; Keyser, Tara L.; McNab, W. Henry; Scott, Patrick; Bush, Janis; Moorman, Christopher E. 2018. Reptile and amphibian response to season of burn in an upland hardwood forest.
- Ex, Seth; Smith, Frederick; Keyser, Tara; Rebain, Stephanie. 2017. Estimating canopy bulk density and canopy base height for conifer stands in the interior Western United States using the Forest Vegetation Simulator Fire and Fuels Extension.
- Keyser, Chad E.; Keyser, Tara L. . 2017. Proceeding of the 2017 Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) e-Conference.
- Westby-Gibson, John, Jr..; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Moorman, Christopher E.; Forrest, T.G.; Keyser, Tara L.; Simon, Dean M.; Warburton, Gordon S. 2017. Short-term response of ground-dwelling macroarthropods to shelterwood harvests in a productive Southern Appalachian upland hardwood forest.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Greenberg, Katie; Simon, Dean; Warburton, Gordon S. 2016. Assessing the regeneration potential of productive mixed-hardwood stands following single and repeated prescribed fire.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Brown, Peter M. 2016. Drought response of upland oak (Quercus L.) species in Appalachian hardwood forests of the southeastern USA.
- Ex, Seth A.; Smith, Frederick W.; Keyser, Tara L.; Rebain, Stephanie A. 2016. Estimating canopy bulk density and canopy base height for interior western US conifer stands.
- Copenheaver, Carolyn A.; Keyser, Tara L. 2016. Frequency of sprout-origin trees in pre-European settlement forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Moorman, Christopher E.; Raybuck, Amy L.; Sundol, Chad; Keyser, Tara L.; Bush, Janis; Simon, Dean M.; Warburton, Gordon S. 2016. Reptile and amphibian response to oak regeneration treatments in productive southern Appalachian hardwood forest.
- Clark, Stacy L.; Schlarbaum, Scott E.; Keyser, Tara L.; Schweitzer, Callie J.; Spetich, Marty; Simon, Dean; Warburton, Gordon S. 2016. Response of planted northern red oak seedlings to regeneration harvesting, Midstory removal, and prescribed burning.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Brown, Peter M. 2015. Long-term response of yellow-poplar to thinning in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Greenberg, Katie; Franzreb, Kathleen; Keyser, Tara; Zarnoch, Stan; Simon, Dean; Warburton, Gordon. 2015. Short-term response of breeding birds to oak regeneration treatments in upland hardwood forest.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Loftis, David L. 2015. Stump sprouting of 19 upland hardwood species 1 year following initiation of a shelterwood with reserves silvicultural system in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Brown, Peter M. 2014. Climate-growth relationships for yellow-poplar across structural and site quality gradients in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Brown, Peter M. 2014. Long-term response of yellow-poplar to thinning in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
- Kabrick, John M.; Villwock, Jason L.; Dey, Daniel C.; Keyser, Tara L.; Larsen, David R. 2014. Modeling and mapping oak advance reproduction density using soil and site variables.
- Keyser, T.L.; Greenberg, C.H.; McNab, H. 2014. Prescribed fire in upland harwood forests.
- Johnsen, Kurt H.; Keyser, Tara L.; Butnor, John R.; Gonzalez-Beenecke, Carlos A.; Kaczmarek, Donald J.; Maier, Chris A.; McCarthy, Heather R.; Sun, Ge. 2014. Productivity and carbon sequestration of forests in the southern United States.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Keyser, Chad E. 2013. Modeling the long-term effects of oak shelterwood regeneration treatments on species diversity and oak abundance in southern Appalachian forests of North Carolina.
- Keyser, Tara L. 2012. Patterns of growth dominance in thinned yellow-poplar stands in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Zarnoch, Stanley J. 2012. Thinning, Age, and Site Quality Influence Live Tree Carbon Stocks in Upland Hardwood Forests of the Southern Appalachians.
- Greenberg, Cathryn; Keyser, Tara L.; Speer, James. 2011. Temporal Patterns of Oak Mortality in a Southern Appalachian Forest (1991-2006).
- Keyser, Tara; Smith, Fredrick; Shepperd, Wayne. 2010. Growth Response of Pinus ponderosa following a Mixed-Severity Wildfire in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
- Keyser, Tara. 2010. Thinning and site quality influence aboveground tree carbon stocks in yellow-poplar forests of the southern Appalachians.
- Keyser, Tara L.; Smith, Frederick W.; Shepperd, Wayne D. 2005. Trembling aspen response to a mixed-severity wildfire in the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA.
- Scientists Embrace Shared Stewardship to Deliver Silviculture Research (2020)
- Since 1992, the SRS Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit has provided workshops and trainings to fulfill continuing education requirements for both federal and non-federal land managers. In 2020, scientists planned to introduce an updated Upland Hardwood Silviculture course to meet training needs of state partners in the southern region. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced scientists to quickly modify the logistics and structure of this highly anticipated training. With assistance from SRS IT specialists, SRS scientists conducted an all-virtual short course. The course delivered the most up-to-date information about the management of upland hardwood forests to more than 100 foresters and natural resource practitioners.