Research

Doctoral Research:

Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

2019-Present (Research Advisor: Dr. M. Chad Bolding)

  • A comprehensive study examining various aspects of operations harvesting logging residues for the production of bioenergy in the lower mid-Atlantic region of the US.
  • The productivity and costs of five logging operations harvesting logging residues for bioenergy in VA will be estimated and compared.
  • The environmental impacts of energywood harvesting operations in the mountains of VA will be compared with the environmental impacts of conventional operations.
  • A survey of both woody biomass producers and consumers will be completed to determine the current outlooks, opinions, and future expectations regarding the use/production of woody biomass for bioenergy held by stakeholders.
  • This research is part of a larger research project in conjunction with the University of Auburn, West Virginia University, and the University of Maine, which is intended to give a comprehensive look at the harvest of woody biomass for bioenergy in the Eastern United States.

 

Master of Forestry Research:

Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

2018-2019 (Research Advisor: Dr. M. Chad Bolding)

  • Examined the soil disturbance effects resulting from a tethered (or cable-assisted) forwarder operating on steep slopes ranging from 50-80% in Brazilian eucalyptus plantations.
  • Two different types of traction winches as well as two different forwarder track configurations were compared.
  • The traction winches allowed the forwarder to work effectively on slopes up to 80% while minimizing soil rutting and compaction.
  • Estimated soil erosion rates were high, likely due to the extreme slopes, but could be greatly reduced if the forwarder “closed out” forwarding paths by redistributing excess slash to the paths.

 

Other Research Experience

  • Collected data for research being conducted by another Virginia Tech faculty member examining the historical range and prevalence of the butternut tree (Juglans cinerea).
    • Perused deed books from multiple counties in Virginia and North Carolina, both online and in-person, and recorded the instances butternut and species that are typically associated with butternut were mentioned as witness trees in deeds.
  • Collected data and wrote a report for research being conducted by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand on current used forestry machine prices in the United States vs. New Zealand.
    • Examined for-sale listings for forestry machines in the Southeastern US on several used equipment websites and recorded data about each target machine, including price, make/model, machine hours, accessories, etc.

 

Future Research Interests

  • Optimizing logging equipment types and mixes based on factors such as environmental impacts, terrain, economics, social impacts, management goals, etc.
  • Examining optimal land use in different areas by weighing economic benefits/impacts with social and environmental benefits/impacts.
  • New timber harvesting technologies and methods.
  • Using forest operations to accomplish management goals.
  • The lasting effects of historical forest management decisions, practices, and policies.
  • Examining all these research interests specifically in relation to Appalachia.

 

Publications

Visser, R., Spinelli, R., Bolding, M.C., Fahey, C., Garren, A.M. (In preparation). Resale Price, Annual Use and Depreciation Trends of Tree-Length Harvesting Equipment. Target Journal: International Journal of Forest Engineering.

Copenheaver, C.A., Chambers, C.P., Evans, A.L., Peterson, J.A., Byers, A., Garren, A.M., Hawks, B., Howell, R. (In preparation). Contrasting historical and present-day butternut (Juglans cinerea L.) spatial distribution patterns. Target Journal: Undecided

Garren, A.M., Bolding, M.C., Aust, W.M., Moura, A.C., & Barrett, S.M. (2019). Soil Disturbance Effects from Tethered Forwarding on Steep Slopes in Brazilian Eucalyptus Plantations. Forests, 10(9), 721.

 

Posters

Garren, A.M., Bolding, M.C., Aust, W.M., Barrett, S.M. (2019). Soil Disturbance Effects from Tethered Forwarding on Steep Slopes in Brazilian Eucalyptus Plantations. Presented at: 2019 20th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference; Shreveport, LA.