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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

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Tree Response to Injury, Infection, and Change


The Northern Research Station has realigned our staff from 37 Research Work Units and Programs into 14 new Research Work Units.

RWU-4505 is now part of NRS-10, Biological and Environmental Influences on Forest Health and Productivity.

Our Mission

Composite image: Tree-ring patterns, field collections, and laboratory analysis help to explain tree health and forest dynamics.To improve rural and urban forests through concepts, tools, and practices based on the biological response of trees to disease and disturbance.


Our scientists are determining how trees respond to injury, infection, and environmental change. Mechanical injuries from fire, storms, and human activities and their resulting infections can be obvious. Less obvious, but potentially as severe, are changes in the chemical environment of forests due to the deposition of atmospheric pollutants and the retention or removal of coarse woody debris. A tree's response to injury, infection, and environmental change is based on dynamic changes in tree form and function. Such changes provide the resilience to disturbance that is the foundation of healthy forests.

Recent studies have focused on the:

  • Recovery of surviving trees following the northeastern regional ice storm of January 1998.
  • The role of compartmentalization in survival of trees injured by fire.
  • The effects of stress on the physiology of nitrogen compounds, for example, polyamines and amino acids, organic acids, and phytochelatins in tree cells.
  • The role of the wood decay process in replenishing essential elements to forest soils.

More Information

This site is under development as the Forest Service brings together the Northeastern and North Central Research Stations to form the Northern Research Station, serving the Northeast and Midwest. Check back often as we expand our site to reflect our combined commitment to supporting the natural resources and people of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States.

For more details about our research visit

Last Modified: 12/21/2007