Research

Doctoral Research:

Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

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

  • Dissertation is a comprehensive study examining various aspects of forest harvesting operations that harvest logging residues for bioenergy production in the lower mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
  • Manuscript 1
    • The productivity and costs of five forest harvesting operations that harvest logging residues for bioenergy production in the lower mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. were estimated and compared
    • Highlighted the importance of maintaining a balanced equipment mix and the high trucking costs faced by harvesting operations currently
    • Provided a valuable comparison of energywood harvesting operations in the Lower Mid-Atlantic region of the United States that can be used to make better-informed decisions regarding the efficient and economical harvest of energywood
    • Article Published in the International Journal of Forest Engineering in 2022
  • Manuscript 2
    • Best management practices (BMPs), erosion, ground cover, and residual downed woody debris on 10 conventionally harvested sites and 10 sites where biomass was harvested in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia were compared
    • While there was a significantly lower quantity of downed woody debris remaining on biomass sites, existing BMPs were adequate for protecting water quality on energywood harvests as well
    • BMP implementation rates were higher on biomass harvests than conventional harvests
    • Submitted to Forest Science
  • Manuscript 3
    • Study will combine data from the Mountains in Manuscript 2 with data from companion studies conducted by Barrett et al. (2016) and Hawks et al. (In preparation) in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions, respectively, allowing results to be compared across Virginia as a whole
    • Best management practices (BMPs), erosion, ground cover, and residual downed woody debris on 30 conventionally harvested sites and 30 sites where biomass was harvested in Virginia will be compared
    • Target Journal: Journal of Forestry
  • Manuscript 4
    • A survey of woody biomass producers in Virginia was completed to characterize and determine the current outlooks and opinions of forest biomass harvesting operations and their owners
    • Provides an update to and expansion of the survey in Barrett et al. (2014)
    • Target Journal: Biomass and Bioenergy
  • This research is part of a larger research project in conjunction with Auburn University, 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
    • Funded through a USDA NIFA grant of $1,000,000

 

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 (winch-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
  • Provided experience collaborating on a research project with non-English speaking industry partners
  • Article published in Forests in 2019

Other Research Experience

  • Supervised a team of Undergraduate Field Technicians during the Summer and Fall of 2021 for the completion of a survey of producers and consumers of forest harvesting residues in the Lower Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
    • Coordinated between two Undergraduate Field Technicians and a faculty member during the preparation, participant recruitment, and submission phases of the survey, and led the effort in preparing the documentation and obtaining IRB approval for the research
  • Collected data for research being conducted by another Virginia Tech faculty member examining the historical range and prevalence of the butternut tree (Juglans cinerea) and four other species
    • 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 at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand on used forestry machine prices in the United States vs. New Zealand
    • Examined for-sale listings for forestry machines in the Southeastern U.S. on several used equipment websites and recorded data about each target machine, including price, make/model, machine hours, accessories, etc.

Future Research Interests

  • Promoting sustainable forest management that balances environmental, social, and economic considerations
  • Promoting sustainable forest management among private landowners
  • Examining optimal land use by weighing economic benefits/impacts with social and environmental benefits/impacts
  • Monitoring BMPs, site/soil impacts, and water quality
  • Using forest operations to accomplish management goals
  • Tethered (winch-assisted) logging systems
  • New timber harvesting technologies and methods
  • Optimizing logging operations based on factors such as environmental impacts, terrain, economics, social impacts, management goals, etc.
  • Forest biomass harvesting and utilization
  • The lasting effects of historical forest management decisions, practices, and policies
  • General forestry, forest ecology, silviculture, and sustainable forest management

Dissertation

Garren, A.M. (In preparation). Evaluating energywood harvesting operations in the Lower Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. Ph.D. Dissertation. Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, VA.

Publications

Garren A.M., Bolding M.C., Barrett S.M., Aust W.M., Coates T.A. (2022). Evaluating the productivity and costs of five energywood harvesting operations in the lower Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S. International Journal of Forest Engineering, 1-11.

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.

Garren A.M., Bolding M.C., Barrett S.M., Aust W.M., Coates T.A. (In review). Best management practices, estimated erosion, residual woody debris, and ground cover characteristics following biomass and conventional clearcut harvests in Virginia’s Mountains. Target Journal: Forest Science.

Copenheaver C.A., Chambers C.P., Evans A.L., Walker D.M., Peterson J.A., Byers A., Garren A.M., Hawks B.S., Howell R. (In review). A comparison of early-European settlement and present-day species mingling patterns in the eastern deciduous forest, USA. Target Journal: Human Ecology.

Garren A.M., Bolding M.C., Barrett S.M., Aust W.M., Coates T.A. (In preparation). Characteristics of energywood harvesting businesses in Virginia. Target Journal: Biomass and Bioenergy.

Garren A.M., Bolding M.C., Barrett S.M., Hawks E.M., Aust W.M., Coates T.A. (In preparation). A meta-analysis of woody biomass harvesting and water quality best management practices in Virginia. Target Journal: Journal of Forestry.

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: New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science.

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.