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2020 HTIRC Annual Report Cover PhotoThe Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC) was conceived in 1998 to address a perceived void in hardwood tree improvement research in the Central Hardwood Forest Region (CHFR) and is committed to enhancing the productivity and quality of CHFR trees and forests for the economic and environmental benefits they provide. Scientists at the HTIRC are using conventional tree improvement breeding as well as molecular and genetic technologies to improve the wood quality, growth characteristics, and insect and disease resistance of trees like black walnut, black cherry, red and white oaks, butternut and American chestnut. Research in tree breeding, tree nursery practices, tree plantation establishment and management, and Central Hardwoods silvicultural systems is aimed at increasing the regeneration success rate for high-quality hardwood trees and forests.

In this 2020 HTIRC Annual Report you will find current research happenings that include:

  • Integrated Digital Forestry Initiative (IDIF) – advancements in digital technology have revolutionized society and daily life. Smartphones today put more computing power in our pockets than the computer onboard with the Apollo Mission. Yet studying and managing forest resources still primarily relies on antiquated, imprecise, and tedious tools like sticks and tape measures.
  • Understanding and Manipulating Plant-soil Feedbacks To Manage The Invasive Shrub Lonicera Maackii – the overall objective of this research project is to determine the role of pathogens and AM fungi in driving or inhibiting Lonicera invasion in hardwood forests.
  • Precise Quantification of Forest Disturbances with UAS (IDIF) – the main goal of this research is to address how UAS can be properly utilized as an inventory mechanism prior to and after planned disturbance events.
  • Developing of Micropropagation and Regeneration System for Black Walnut – project objectives included: establishing sterile cultures of selected cultivars of black walnut; shoot multiplication and growth of healthy shoots; rooting and establishing plants in vitro; and successful transfer to soil and acclimation to ex-vitro conditions, including establishment in greenhouse.
  • A New, Faster, Cheaper, and Easier Way to Measure HTIRC Plantations (IDIF)- to develop and demonstrate a portable device capable of real-time tree measurements of tree diameters at regular height intervals. Although the data processing of terrestrial stereoscopic photogrammetry is much faster than for the popular SfM photogrammetry, it cannot yet provide “real-time” output, which we consider essential.

You will also find the Operational Tree Improvement Report and highlights of outreach events. Contact Wes Schempf,, for further details on how you can partner with  HTIRC.

HTIRC 2020 Annual Report
Hardwood Tree Improvement & Regeneration Center (HTIRC)
Tropical Hardwood Tree Improvement & Regeneration Center (tropHTIRC)
Partners, Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources

Weston Schempf, Research & Communications Director
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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