Photo of Stacy Clark

Stacy Clark

Research Forester
2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Room 274 EPSB
University of Tennessee, Dept. of Forestry, Wild., and Fish
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0932
Fax: 865-974-4714

Current Research

My research primarily centers on artificial regeneration (i.e., planting) of oak (Quercus) and American chestnut (Castanea dentata). I use pedigreed material to test genetic or breeding effects on nursery seedling quality and field performance after planting. Silvicultural treatments, including prescribed burning, herbicide treatments, and commercial timber operations, are tested to develop the most effective and economically efficient prescriptions that can be used to regenerate oak and American chestnut species through planting.

Another portion of my research is to reconstruct stand history and tree-climate interactions through the use of tree-rings (i.e., dendrochronology). The study of tree-rings is a robust and powerful tool that can assist managers in understanding natural processes that developed current forest conditions. Tree-ring research can also be used to predict responses to future man-made or natural disturbances or to climate changes.

Why This Research is Important

TREE-RING RESEARCH (DENDROCHROLOGY) The study of tree-rings allows us to understand how past disturbances and climate conditions created the stand conditions we see today. Managers can use this information to improve stand resiliency and adaptability to climate change, exotic pests, and other disturbances. Through analysis of tree rings, historical documents, and stand inventory data, we have discovered that many oak forests are shifting towards non-oak species. These predicted changes will result in decreased ecological diversity and function, and forests will be less valuable to wildlife species if no management action is taken. 

OAK RESTORATION RESEARCH We can maintain or restore oak species through active forest management. Commercial forest management, herbicides, and prescribed fire can be used to improve the oak component by increasing available light and controlling non-oak species. Tree planting of oak seedlings can supplement natural oak regeneration when it is lacking or when large oak reproduction is needed immediately. Seedlings can be improved through cultural practices, and genetic selections are currently being tested. Locally adapted seedlings should be used for planting, but testing of seed sources for planting in warmer and drier environments should also be conducted.

AMERICAN CHESTNUT RESEARCH American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once a prolific tree species in the eastern United States and was highly valued for its wood, nuts, and aesthetics. The tree has been virtually extirpated by exotic pathogens from Asia, most notably, the chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). Advancements in genetic breeding for resistance to blight are being achieved, but no prescriptions have been accepted for planting and maintaining chestnut in natural forest communities where it once thrived. Technological advancements in commercial nursery production are in the early testing stages for this species. Early results indicate strategies for early success in planting American chestnut are similar to oak species: use high-quality seedlings, protect from deer, plant in high-light environments, and reduce hardwood competition. American chestnut appears to have fast growth after overcoming planting shock and is competitive with most native tree species; however non-native pests including root rot caused by Phythophthora cinnamomi, have negatively impacted planting success. Mitigation for these pests is currently being tested.


Ph.D. in Plant Science, 2003
Oklahoma State University
M.S. in Forestry, 1999
The University of Tennessee
B.S. in Forest Resource Management, 1996
The University of Tennessee

Professional Organizations

  • Southern Appalachian Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, Liaison (2012—Current)
  • The University Of Tennessee, Adjunct Faculty (2007—Current)
  • Natural Areas Association, Member (2004—Current)
  • Society Of American Foresters, Member (1997—Current)

Featured Publications and Products


R&D Affiliations
Research Topics
Priority Areas
SRS Science Area
Experimental Forests and Ranges
External Resources