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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Alex C. Wiedenhoeft

Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, Ph.D.

Research Botanist and Team Leader
Center for Wood Anatomy Research
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9384
Fax: 608-231-9508
Contact Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, Ph.D.

Current Research

Botanical wood anatomy

  • Evolution of wood anatomical diversity
  • Wood anatomical flood response to seasonal inundation
Forensic wood science
  • Machine-vision wood identification with the XyloTron
    • Commercial woods of Mozambique
    • CITES-woods
    • Dalbergia and Pterocarpus
    • North American hardwoods
    • Commercial woods of Ghana
    • Commercial woods of Colombia
    • Commercial woods of Peru
  • Further develop organellar microcapture for trace evidence
Biocentric wood science
  • Practical methods to determine dimensional change coefficients for the flooring industry
  • Characterization of wood phenotype, including figure, in naturally occurring tree mutants (Populus, Prunus, Acer)
Other interdisciplinary cooperations or projects
  • Product claim verification in forest products supply chains and improved monitoring and determination of best practices
  • Identification and dating of the wooden cultural patrimony of the Taino people

Research Interests

  • Elucidate the evolutionary interplay between ecology and phylogeny in wood anatomy as determinants of structure-function of trees, shrubs, and lianas.
  • Conduct foundational research and develop tools and methods to improve the ability of the wood industry to comply with - and law enforcement to apply - laws governing illegal logging.
  • Improve the use and utility of wood as a material by researching the biological origins of fundamental wood properties at the mesoscale and how they influence wood behavior in a range of contexts.

Past Research

  • Systematic wood anatomy
  • Traditional wood identification
  • Anatomical aspects of early wood colonization by wood decay fungi
  • Wood-finish and wood-adhesive interactions

Why This Research is Important

Wood is a fundamental part of human material culture going back to prehistory.  We have used it for tools, for fuel, for shelter, and even (a surprise to many) for food.  Understanding the biological origins of wood provides a critical contextual framework for interpreting wood evolution, wood forensics, and the modern use of wood in its many forms.


  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, B.S. Department of Botany 1997
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, M.S. Department of Botany 2001
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, Ph.D. Department of Botany 2008

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, Mississippi State University
    2020 - Current
  • Professor Estrangeiro, Universidade Estadual Paulista - Botucatu, Departamento de Botanica
    2014 - Current
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of Botany
    2013 - Current
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
    2012 - Current

Professional Organizations

  • National Association of Floor Covering Technicians, Board Member (2020 - Current)
  • International Academy of Wood Science, Elected Fellow (2018 - Current)
  • International Association of Wood Anatomists, Deputy Executive Secretary (2018 - Current)
  • International Association of Wood Anatomists, Member (2012 - present)
  • International Association of Wood Anatomists, Associate Editor (2003 - present)
  • International Association of Wood Anatomists, Editorial Board Member (2012 - 2017)
  • International Association of Wood Anatomists, Exceutive Council Member (2012 - 2017)

Awards & Recognition

  • Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award, 2017
    Awarded in recognition of my research program using forensic wood science to investigate certified wood product supply chains.

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material

The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general publ ...


Field-Portable XyloTron Outperforms Laboratory-Based DART Mass Spectrometry Wood Identification For Mahogany Family

Imagine you are inspecting a wood shipment and you suspect someone is smuggling mahogany, an endangered species. You could remove a small specim ...


Fraud in U.S. Retail Forest Products and Forensic Capacity

Fraud and misrepresentation in U.S. retail forest products greatly exceeds the forensic capacity to combat it.


Machine Vision Wood Identification of Endangered Tropical Woods

Field identification of wood (screening) is the first step in a forensic workflow to combat illegal logging. Similarly, industries interested in ...


The Xylotron: A Field-Deployable Machine-Vision Wood Identification System

The Xylotron is a machine-vision-based wood identification system that uses a custom-designed wood imaging device (the Xyloscope), image analysi ...


Last updated on : 08/27/2021