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Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center

[photo:] The Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center is a collaboration focusing on hardwood tree species nationwide.  Photograph shows a black walnut tree.The Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC) is advancing the science of hardwood tree improvement, genomics, physiology, protection, and utilization in the hardwood region of the United States by

  • Developing and disseminating information on improving the genetic quality of hardwood tree species and conserving fine hardwood germplasm.
  • Developing elite hardwood trees for restoration and regeneration of sustainable hardwood forests and riparian zones for production of forest products and maintenance of genetically diverse ecosystems.
  • Increasing knowledge and developing systems for nursery production and plantation establishment.
  • Increasing knowledge and developing strategies for protection, utilization and marketing of the hardwood resource.
  • Developing recognized and respected science leaders in forest genetics, physiology, regeneration, protection and utilization.

The HTIRC is unique in several aspects: it has a national focus on hardwoods; it is a true partnership of federal, state, university, industry, and landowner groups that contribute financial support and advice; and it is generating basic knowledge and technologies in hardwood tree genomics, improvement, regeneration, protection, and utilization for tree nurseries, industry, public agencies, and landowners.


The Forest Service has partnered with many organizations to make this project a success.

Acres of Forest Affected:

(100,000 in Indiana, and 25,000 more
throughout the Midwest)


60, including NRS
and Purdue personnel

Active National Forests Involved:
Annual Budget of HTIRC:

$ 900,000 from the Forest Service,
$3 million total



To date, the HTIRC partnership has

  • Developed hardwood (oak and walnut) molecular markers for use in determination of genetic quality and population structure of current natural forests and plantations, and quantitative genes in superior hardwood trees.
  • Developed vegetative and tissue culture propagation technologies for use in genomics research and mass propagation systems for superior and disease-resistant trees.
  • Developed nursery guides for production of quality seedlings and forest management guides for regeneration and reforestation of degraded agricultural land and riparian zones.
  • Developed breeding and selection programs for black walnut, black cherry, and northern red oak.


The HTIRC has helped to add 100,000 acres of new hardwood forestland in Indiana in the last decade. Two threatened and endangered species – American chestnut and butternut – are being restored. Additional forestland and the additional species will maintain the hardwood industry and associated jobs in the state and the Midwest.  

Lessons Learned

The strength of the HTIRC is its ability to perform basic, applied and developmental research so the basic genetic knowledge that is created will be delivered to industry and private landowners in value-added products rather than knowledge that only benefits the scientific community.

[photo:] Guillermo Pardillo, Deputy CEO of ArborAmerica“For ArborAmerica, being a member of HTIRC represents an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand access to cutting edge research and technologies on several fields that are relevant to our commercial interests. As we develop our own know-how, our partnership with HTRIC allows us to focus on science based, tested pathways that are backed by a comprehensive team of first class researchers operating under a structured program. The synergies between research and commercial interests and the addition of value in the process are impressive.”
--Guillermo Pardillo, Deputy CEO of ArborAmerica

Partner Organizations

Last Modified: July 31, 2019