Sustaining the oak resource is of upmost concern to public and private land managers in the Central Hardwood Region of the eastern United States. Oaks are keystone species, but are threatened by natural succession, changes to disturbance regimes, urban development, and lack of critical knowledge for management. Emerging threats such as climate change, exotic invasive species, and economic stressors also pose significant problems for managers.
Significant progress has been made in research of oak management since the mid-20th century. In 1992, a symposium, “Oak Regeneration: Serious Problems, Practical Recommendations” was held in Knoxville TN to synthesize the state of the knowledge on problems and opportunities associated with securing oak regeneration in oak dominated forests. In 2002, a symposium, “Upland Oak Ecology Symposium: History, Current Conditions, and Sustainability” was held in Fayetteville, AR to continue technology transfer efforts, and expanded the scope of topics to include oak decline, wildlife ecology, and forest health.
The University of Tennessee (UT), Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries is hosting a third symposium to continue technology transfer on state-of-the-art management and research for sustainability of the oak resource in the Central Hardwood Region. The 3 day symposium will include invited speakers and concurrent sessions. Issues addressed will include forest health, emerging economic markets, silviculture for climate change, managing for oak regeneration, oak decline, and prescribed burning in oak forests. A field trip will be offered that showcases collaborative research between the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, the UT Tree Improvement Program, and the Southern Research Station. The steering committee is Stacy Clark (SRS), Wayne Clatterbuck (UT), Dan Dey (NRS), Tom Schuler (NRS), Callie Schweitzer (SRS), and David Todd (TN Division of Forestry).