USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Programs and Projects


Ecology and Management of Western Forests Influenced by Mediterranean Climate

Photo of Robert Powers

Robert F Powers
Emeritus Research Forester
Employee E-mail Address Image
Phone: (530) 226-2543

USDA, Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Research Station

3644 Avtech Parkway
Redding, CA 96002
Ph: (530) 226-2530
Fx: (530) 226-5091
B.S. Humboldt State University (Forest Management, 1966)
Ph.D. Univ. California, Berkeley (Physiological Forest Ecology, 1981)

Professional Experience

Emeritus Scientist, PSW Station (2008-present)
Research Program Manager, PSW Station (2002-2008)
Senior Scientist, PSW Station (2002-2008)
Science Team Leader, PSW Station (1995-2002)
Research Scientist, PSW Station (1970-1995)

Professional background and accomplishments detailed

Research Interests/Duties
  • How changes in organic matter and soil porosity influence net primary productivity in Sierra Nevada forests (the LTSP study)
  • How combinations of weed, nutrient and insect control influence water use, nutrient uptake, photosynthesis and biomass accumulation in planted pine forests (the Garden of Eden experiment)
  • How mitigative soil treatments can restore degraded sites

Selected Publications

Available Online

Busse, M.D., M.F. Jurgensen, D. Page-Dumroese, R.F. Powers. 2007. Contribution of actinorhizal shrubs to site fertility in a northern California mixed-pine forest. Forest Ecology and Management 244:68-75.

Busse, M.D., S.E. Beattie, R.F. Powers, F.G. Sanchez, and A.E. Tiarks. 2006. Microbial community responses in forest mineral soil to compaction, organic matter removal, and vegetation control. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36:577-588.

Knapp E.E., M.Busse, J. Morgan Varner III, C. Skinner, and R. Powers. 2006. Behavior and short-term effects of fire in masticated fuel beds. Proceedings of the Third International Fire Ecology and Management Congress, Nov. 13-17, San Diego, CA.

Ratcliff, A.W., M.D. Busse, and C.J. Shestak. 2006. Changes in microbial community structure following herbicide (glyphosate) additions to forest soils. Applied Soil Ecology 34:114-124.

Busse, Matt D.,, Ken R. Hubbert, Gary O. Fiddler, Carol J. Shestak, and Robert F. Powers (2005) Lethal soil temperatures during burning of masticated forest residues.

Busse, M.D.; Ratcliff, A.W.; Shestak, C.J.; Powers, R.F. 2001. Glyphosate toxicity and the effects of long-term vegetation control on soil microbial communities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 33: 1777-1789.

Powers, R.F., Alban R.E., Ballenger E.A., Brennan T.J. 1991. Sustaining site productivity in North American forests: Problems and Prospects. “Sustained Productivity of Forest Soils,” 7th Annual American Forest Soils Conference Proceedings, 1990.

Powers, R. F., and W. W. Oliver. 1978. Site classification of ponderosa pine stands under stocking control in California. USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. PSW-128. 9 p.

Soon Available Online

Powers, R.F.; Adams, M.B.; Fiske, J.N.; Joslin, J.D. (In press) Non-boreal coniferous forests of North America. In: Anderson, F.; Gessel, S. (eds.) Ecosystems of the World: Coniferous Forests. Elsevier, The Netherlands.

Powers, R.F.; Sanchez, F.G.; Scott, D.A.; Page-Dumroese, D. (In press) The North American long-term soil productivity experiment: coast-to-coast findings from the first decade. In: Proceedings, National Silviculture Workshop. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. RM.

Busse, Matt D., Samual E. Beattie, Robert F. Powers, Felipe G. Sanchez, and Allan E. Tiarks. 2006. Microbial community responses in forest mineral soil to compaction, organic matter removal, and vegetation control. Can. J. For. Res. 36: Pages 577-588.

Powers, R.F. 2003. Keynote: World trends in forests, forest use, wood supply. The Irony of California Forestry. The Challenge to Our Profession. p. 1-17. In: Cooper, S.L. (comp.) Proceedings 24th Ann. Forest Vegetation Management Conf. Univ. California Cooperative Exten., Redding, CA.

McColl, J.G.; Powers, R.F. 2003. Decomposition of small woody debris of California red fir: mass loss and elemental content over 17 years. Soil Sci. Am. Soc. J. 67: 1227-1233.

Waldrop, M.P.; McColl, J.G.; Powers, R.F. 2003. Effects of forest postharvest management practices on enzyme activities in decomposing litter. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 67: 1250-1256.

Gomez, A.; Powers, R.F.; Singer, M.J.; Horwath, W.R. 2002. N uptake and N status in ponderosa pine as affected by soil compaction and forest floor removal. Plant & Soil 242: 263-275.

Gomez, A.; Powers, R.F.; Singer, M.J.; Horwath, W.R. 2002. Soil compaction effects on growth of young ponderosa pine following litter removal in California’s Sierra Nevada. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 66: 1334-1343.

Gomez, G.A.; Singer, M.J.; Powers, R.F.; Horwath, W.R. 2002. Soil compaction effects on water status of ponderosa pine assessed through 13C/12C composition. Tree Physiol. 22: 459-467.

Powers, R.F. 2002. Effects of soil disturbance on fundamental, sustainable productivity of managed forests. p. 63-82. In: Verner, J. (comp.) The Kings River Sustainable Ecosystem Project. USDA Forest Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-183. Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA.

Boyle, J.R.; Powers, R.F. (eds.) 2001. Forest soils and ecosystem sustainability. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 462 p.

Powers, Robert F. 2001 Chapter 5. Assessing potential sustainable wood yield. p. 105-128. In: Evans, Julian (ed.) The Forests Handbook. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Powers, R.F. 2000. The role of planted forests in a “green certified” century. p. 1-17. In: S.L. Cooper (comp.) Reforestation for the New Millennium: Back to Our Roots. Proceedings 21st Forest Vegetation Management Conference. Univ. California, Cooperative Extension, Redding, CA.

Powers, R.F.; Hauxwell, D.L.; Nakamura, G.O. (eds.) 2000. Forest soils biology and forest management. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-178. Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA.

Powers, R.F.; Reynolds, P.E. 2000. Intensive management of ponderosa pine plantations: sustainable productivity for the 21st century. J. Sustainable Forestry 10 (3/4): 249-255.

Reynolds, P.E.; Powers, R.F. 2000. Gas exchange for managed ponderosa pine stands positioned along a climatic gradient. J. Sustainable Forestry 10 (3/4): 257-265.

Powers, Robert F. 1999. On the sustainability productivity of planted forests. New Forests 17: 253-306.

Powers, R.F.; Reynolds, P.E. 1999. Ten-year responses of ponderosa pine plantations to repeated vegetation and nutrient control along an environmental gradient. Canadian J. For. Res. 29: 1027-1038

McColl, J.G. and R.F. Powers. 1998. Decomposition of small diameter woody debris of red fir determined by nuclear magnetic resonance. Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Analy. 29: 2691-2704.

Oliver, William W. and Robert F. Powers. 1998. Blacks Mountain California: Interdisciplinary Field Research in Ponderosa Pine. Journal of Forestry 96(8):4-9.

Powers, R.F.; Tiarks, A.E.; Boyle, J.R. 1998. Assessing soil quality: practicable standards for sustainable forest productivity in the United States. p. 53-80. In: Davidson, E.A.; Adams, M.B.; Ramakrishna, K. (eds.) Criteria and indicators of soil quality for sustainable forest productivity. Spec. Publ. 53, Soil Sci. Soc. Am., Madison, WI

Powers, R.F. and G.F. Ferrell. 1997. Moisture, nutrient, and insect constraints plantation growth: the "Garden of Eden" study. New Zealand J. For. Sci. 27

Powers, R.F. 1997. On the sustainability of planted forests. In: Planted Forests Contributions to Sustainable Societies. Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Powers, R.F. and I.K. Morrison. 1996. Soil and sustainable forest productivity: preamable. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60: 1613.

Powers, R.F. and P.E Avers. 1995. Sustaining forest productivity through soil standards: a coordinated U.S. effort. p. 147-190. In: C.B. Powter, S.A Abbouc W.B. McGill (eds.) Environmental oil Science. Anthropogenic Chemicals and Quality Criteria. Canadian Soc. Soil Sci., Brandon, Manitoba.

Van Cleve, K. and R.F. Powers. 1995. Soil carbon, soil formation, and ecosystem development. p. 155-200. In: W.W. McFee and J.M. Kelly (eds.) Carbon Forms Functions in Forest Soil Sci. Soc. Am., Madison, WI.

Powers, R.F., D.J. Mead, J.A. Burger, and M.W. Ritchie. 1994. Designing long-term site productivity experiments. p. 247-285 In: Impacts of Forest Harvesting on Long-Term Site Productivity. W.J.Dyck, D.W. Cole and N.B. Comerford, Editors. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.

Ritchie, M.W. and R.F. Powers. 1993. A user's guide for SYSTUM-1 (Version 2.0): Simulating trends in young stands under management in California and Oregon. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-147. Albany CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service. 45 p.

Powers, R.F. and K. Van Cleve. 1991. Long-term ecological research in temperboreal forest ecosystems. Agron. J. 83:11-24.

Powers, R. F., and W. W. Oliver. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. Incense-cedar. p. 173-180. In: Burns, R. M. and B. H. Honkala (tech. coord.) Silvics of North America Volume 1, Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654.

Powers, R.F., M.W. Ritchie, and L.O. Ticknor. 1989. SYSTUM-1: Simulating the growth of young conifers under management. p. 101-115 In: A Decade of Forest Vegetation Management. Proc. 10th Ann. Forest Vegetation Management Conference, Nov. 1-3, 1988, Eureka CA. Forest Vegetation Managment Conference, Redding CA. 226 p.

Ritchie, M.W. and R.F. Powers. 1988. Modeling height growth of young ponderosa pine plantations: influence of weed competition and crown ratio. P 79-91 In: Proceedings 9th Annual Forest Vegetation Management Conference, Nov. 3-5, 1987, Redding CA. Forest Vegetation Management Conference, Redding, CA. 226 p.

Powers, R. F.,and W. W. Oliver. 1984. Ponderosa pine plantation growth in northern California . . . brush competition and response to release. p.122-125. In: Summaries of the proceedings of the 1984 Western Forestry Conference; 1984 December 3-5; Sacramento, CA. West. For. and Conserv. Assoc. Portland, OR.

Many more Publications will be added to this list. If you need assistance please contact the appropriate Principal Research Scientist.

Last Modified: Sep 15, 2009 07:13:44 PM