US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Marty Spetich

Research Forest Ecologist
P.O. Box 1270
Hot Springs, AR 71902
Phone: 501-623-1180 x105
Contact Marty Spetich

Current Research

The overall objective of this research is to 1) address practical, applied forest management needs based on a combination of current scientific thought and needs expressed by field practitioners and 2) to get science results out to practitioners in a meaningful and useful way that will benefit both society and the environment.

This integrated research program addresses forest dynamics and the development of both short and long-term studies at three scales: stand, state, and regional.

These studies address:

  • forest restoration
  • growth
  • woody species reproduction
  • competitive capacity
  • stand dynamics
  • stand composition
  • keystone forest species restoration
  • quantitative silviculture
  • development of forest management methods
  • forest ecology
  • disturbance ecology
  • diversity of upland hardwood forests from the Arkansas Interior Highlands to larger scales that include eastern upland hardwood forests

Forest dynamics of the:

  • Ozark Highlands
  • Boston Mountains
  • Arkansas River Valley
  • Ouachita Mountains
  • eastern upland hardwood forests

Other topics include:

  • oak decline
  • land use history
  • fire ecology
  • regional dynamics of upland old-growth forests of the Midwest

Getting science results out, examples:

Research Interests

I am working on research in oak-dominated forests of the Ozark-Ouachita Highlands, where oak-hickory is the most extensive forest type, covering over 15 million acres.  The majority of the work is applied, and considerable effort is made to bring application of research results to resource managers and others.  I am working to develop methods for forest restoration, sustainability, and to forecast long-term, large-scale changes in forests throughout the south and beyond.  I am working to understand factors associated with oak mortality and on methods to minimize its impact.  I also manage two experimental forests totaling over 5,000 acres.

Past Research

Marty has worked for the Southern Research Station since 1998.  He has published more than 65 scientific manuscripts and other publications; given more than 90 scientific presentations; given invited talks in China and Russia; done collaborative research with university and government scientists; taught classes at both The Ohio State University and Purdue University; and presented 40 technical transfer talks, workshops and field days. In addition he holds adjunct faculty status at several universities.

Why This Research is Important

Restoration of forest species is important for maintaining the integrity and sustainability of forests.  While forecasting landscape change is an essential quantitative tool for understanding the large-scale, long-term, cumulative effects of forest management. This knowledge is required for management of National Forests and equally crucial to private forestland owners who own the majority of the forests in the eastern United States.


  • Purdue University, Ph.D. Forest Ecology & Silviculture, 1995
  • The Ohio State University, M.S. Silviculture, 1985
  • The Ohio State University, B.S. Natural Resources (Forest Biology), 1983

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America, Member (1992 - Current)
    Elected Co-Chair of the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) Applied Ecology Section – 2004-2006. This is ESAs second largest and third oldest of the active sections within this Society. I played a major role as co-chair in 2004-2005, representing the section at ESAs 2005 annual meeting by planning, preparing and presiding at the section business meeting and organizing a multi-section mixer in Montreal. I took full chair responsibilities for 2005-2006.
  • Natural Areas Association, Member (1992 - Current)
    Presented at annual meetings and published in the NAA journal
  • Society of American Foresters, Member (1981 - Current)
    Invited speaker at the 1996 natioal convention speking on “The Role of Silviculture in Ecosystem Management." Also helped with logistics of the 1993 national convention
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology, Member (1995 - 2008)
    Presented at annual meetings and the 5th World Congress
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Member (1996 - 2007)
  • Torrey Botanical Society, Member (1996 - 2007)
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences, Member (1992 - 2007)
  • American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Member (1992 - 1999)
  • Indiana Academy of Science, Member (1992 - 1999)
    Presented research results at annual IAS meetings

Awards & Recognition

  • Research Station Award, 2014
    Cooperation and Teamwork
  • Society of American Foresters (Ouachita Chapter), 2013
    Forest Science Award
  • Individual Special Act, 2010
    Mission Results
  • Performance Appraisal, 2009
    Leadership and Teamwork
  • Performance Appraisal, 2008
    Outstanding performance rating
  • Extra Effort Award, 2008
    For his role in the new cooperative RWU-4157 regional oak study – with expertise in fuels, fire and sampling
  • Extra Effort Award, 2007
    For excellent management of his program of research and substantial contributions to planning of the unit’s regional oak study
  • Performance Bonus Award, 2004
    For leadership in delivery of the Upland Oak Ecology and Management Symposium Proceedings to the scientific community, professional resource managers and the public
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2003
    For “Significant achievement in vertical integration of oak planting research results, including a refereed journal outlet, a summary for practicing professionals in a symposium proceedings, and a web-based computer model for practical application”
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2002
    For outstanding work in coordinating the program for the Upland Oak Ecology Symposium, held in October 2002 in Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2001
    For extra effort in establishing a productive cooperative relationship as research liaison with Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2000
    For study plan approval and installation of two replications of the new Study 90 ‘Restoration of oak dominated forests through application of historic frequencies of periodic fire’ on schedule and below cost
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1999
    For exemplary performance during initial year of Southern Station employment
  • Acclamation letter from the president of the Forestry Resources Association of Indiana, 1991
    For being an Outstanding Example of Service to the Public
  • Commendation letter from the Governor of Indiana, 1991
    For dedication to the people of Indiana
  • Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, 1984
    Academic standing
  • Edmund R. Sawtell Scholarship, 1983
    Academics and cooperation
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, 1983
    Biology Honor Society
  • Kathryn Weisner Scholarship, 1982
    Academics and cooperation
  • Phi Eta Sigma, 1982
    Freshman Honor Society
  • The Ohio State University Scholarship, 1981
    Academic standing

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Red Oak Species Is Especially Vulnerable to Drought Events

Oak decline and mortality under periodic regional drought in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas and Missouri


Last updated on : 03/18/2015