Oak Genetic Improvement Program

Grants and Contracts Details


Our forests are increasingly under threat from an array of invasive insects, diseases and plants. To proactively manage forests under these conditions we need to develop: a) knowledge of the genetic composition/diversity/resistance of key forest trees like oaks; b) technical expertise/infrastructure for identifying, developing and deploying resistant trees; and c) an engaged network of informed landowners. To meet these needs, the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) proposes forming the Oak Genetic Improvement Program (OGIP) in collaboration with the Forest Health Research and Education Center (FHC). This program will facilitate access to improved oaks while developing a cadre of citizen scientists to share these trees and related silvicultural information. By leveraging FHC’s scientific expertise and outreach resources with KDF’s existing facilities, this program would significantly advance our ability to defend Kentucky’s and the region’s oak-dominated forests from future threats. To support this program, a forest genetics research specialist will be hired to spearhead collaborative research that will foster the sustainability of oak species, such as Quercus alba, that provide critical economic, ecosystem, and wildlife values to the region. This person will be responsible for surveying available germplasm and establishing plantings for use in tree breeding and genetic analysis across the region. The latter will require identifying and developing necessary breeding program infrastructure and partners to ensure success. The individual will also be required to conduct research integrating oak genetics, genomics and breeding. The person will collaborate with FNR faculty, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Forest Health Researchand Education Center, the emerging Kentucky Spirits Research Institute and White Oak Initiative and others engaged in oak genetics and conservation to help ensure success of collections, breeding programs, and research to help build the sustainability of oak resources. The position will require the ability to develop phenotypic evaluations and plant material collections, maintain databases, develop and implement research, supervise personnel, and work with partners and stakeholders to help develop a collaborative network aimed at the sustainability of oak species.
Effective start/end date9/1/186/30/20


  • KY Division of Forestry: $200,000.00


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