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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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George L. McCaskill

Research Forester
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande
Oregon
United States
97850

Phone: 541-962-6533
Fax: 541-962-6504
Contact George L. McCaskill


Current Research

Dr. McCaskill evaluates the resilency of ponderosa pine, dry mixed conifer, moist mixed conifer, and lodgepole pine forests in response to restoration treatments through the collection and analysis of data on forest structure including downed woody debris, plant species richness, soil net ammonification and nitrification fluxes, numbers of ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), soil bacterial-to-fungal ratios, and soil chemical properties (available-P, pH, soil organic matter content); as indicators for change. Benchmarks along the restoration trajectories of each forest type are identified by chronosequencial analysis. A restoration dynamics model (RESDYN) will be developed based upon the analyzed field and laboratory data, and utilizing the object-oriented Python programming language.These bio-indicators are also used to evaluate the resilency of these four forest types to major disturbances such as bark beetles, western spruce budworm, extended drought, and wildfire. There is a special focus on the forest ecosystem of the Blue Mountains of Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington State.

Research Interests

Dr. McCaskill has a special interest in the evolutionary ecology of the "cedar" species within the Cypress Family. He will coninue to determine the various relationships between the origins of the different North American and South American "cedar" species.

Past Research

As a member of the Northern Research Station's Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) program, Dr. McCaskill focused on the productivity of Northern Forests within Maine and across the northeast. He examined changes in forest composition within the spruce-fir groups as well as within the northern hardwood types in order to determine the resiliency/productivity of these forests to continue to supply wood while evolving through spruce budworm, gypsy moth, and beech bark disease outbreaks, along with the introduction of new invasive pests. He was the FIA Analyst for the State of Maine and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

He studied the ecology of Northern white-cedar across the northern states and its adaption to changing habitats, while working with other scientists to monitor the productivity of Northern white-cedar across the Northern Region.

Dr. McCaskill designed and implemented a major research project for the purpose of monitoring the restoration of coastal wet longleaf pine (Pinus palustrisMill). The study involved the collection and laboratorial analysis of forest inventory and soil bio-indicator data while completing his doctoral studies at the University of Florida. The monitoring of the Pt. Washington restoration project required data on forest structure including downed woody debris, plant species richness, soil net ammonification and nitrification fluxes, numbers of ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) versesnitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), soil bacterial-to-fungal ratios, and soil chemical properties (available-P, pH, soil organic matter content); as indicators for change. The bio-indicator data was collected from the restoration site and three reference sites along a 500-mile gulf coastline, as well as a 110-year chronosequence in order to evaluate restoration dynamics.

Why This Research is Important

The forests within the Northwestern United States are subjected to periods of drought and excessive precipitation . Having the ability to identify indicators for ecological resilency and to evaluate ecological conditiions after restoration treatments, will gives us the ability to predict future needs.

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America, Full Member (2002 - Current)
    Present papers at annual convention.
  • Registered Professional Forester, Ca, No. 2345, Licensed To Practice Professional Forestry (1986 - Current)
    The exam covers the California Forest Practice Act and the multiple disciplines needed to practice forestry in California.

Awards & Recognition

  • California Registered Professional Forester (active), 1986
    Past the Board of Forestry License exam on first attempt.

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Last updated on : 09/29/2015