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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Keith Woeste

Research Plant Molecular Geneticist
Hardwood Tree Improvement & Regeneration Center, 715 W. State Street
West Lafayette
United States

Phone: 765-496-6808
Contact Keith Woeste

Current Research

The Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC) performs research in four areas that develop and disseminate knowledge on
  • improving the genetic quality of hardwood tree species,
  • conserving fine hardwood germplasm,
  • restoring and regenerating sustainable hardwood forests and riparian zones for production of forest products and maintenance of genetically diverse ecosystems, and
  • forest genetics and genomics.
  • The HTIRC is a unique regional and collaborative research, development and technology transfer effort that applies classical breeding, genomics, genetic modification, advancedpropagation, production, and silviculture to benefit industry, private landowners and the scientific community

    Research Interests

    • Understanding of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of wood grain formation
    • Use of RFID technology to monitor and maintain long-term field studies
    • Butternut conservation breeding and genetics
    • Chestnut reproductive biology and gene flow after species reintroduction
    • Marker-assisted breeding and selection in hardwoods
    • Genetics of hardwood nursery stock growth and outplanting performance
    • Use of hybrids to improve growth and quality of hardwoods

    Why This Research is Important

    Fine hardwoods such as black walnut and white oak are an important economic and ecological resource. Landowners in the Central Hardwood Region have a long history of afforestation and interest in obtaining the highest quality planting stock. They look to the Forest Service and other public agencies to provide them with guidance concerning the best practices for establishing and managing their forest plantings. Basic research in the biology and genetics of fine hardwoods has lagged behind that of conifers over the last century. The pressures of increased demand for hardwood products, urban expansion, and the limits placed on logging on public lands have meant that we need to find ways to make more hardwood on private lands. Most forest landowners in the Central Hardwood Region own small properties and there are few large, industrial holdings. Thus, research and technology transfer must address highly localized needs.


    • University of California, Ph.D. Genetics 1994
    • University of California, M.S. Genetics 1993
    • University of California, M.S. Horticulture 1990
    • Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, M.Div. 1986
    • University of Florida, B.S. 1980

    Professional Organizations

    • American Society of Plant Biology

    Featured Publications & Products


    Research Highlights


    Elm Disease Resistance Research Gets a Boost

    Great news for disease-tolerant American elm! A grant from The Manton Foundation has provided the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station w ...


    High quality nursery grown red oak seedlings provide a good start for forest restoration

    Forest Service tree breeders working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are developing high quality, genetically diverse oak seedl ...


    Surviving Butternut Trees Benefit From Better Sites Rather than Disease Resistance

    Butternut trees are rapidly disappearing because of butternut canker disease. Rare healthy trees appeared to hold hope for resistance to buttern ...


    Last updated on : 07/20/2021