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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Brad St. Clair

Brad St. Clair

Research Geneticist
3200 SW Jefferson Way
United States

Phone: 541-750-7294
Contact Brad St. Clair

Current Research

My research is primarily aimed at understanding the genetic basis of how plants are adapted to their environments. Current research is focused on exploring responses of Douglas-fir populations from a wide range of source environments planted in a reciprocal transplant study using a wide range of test site environments. Results from this study will be valuable for understanding responses to climate change and exploring management options for adapting to future climates. In addition, I am developing Web-based tools that will help managers choose appropriate seed sources given different climate change scenarios. One of those tools is an archive for data from earlier provenance studies that will help prevent loss of this valuable information and promote collaboration to look at the data in new ways. Another major research focus are studies of geographic genetic variation in several grass species and implications for restoration after disturbances.

Research Interests

My research interests are primarily concerned with describing and understanding geographic variation in how plants are adapted to their environments and the implications for management including reforestation, restoration, tree improvement, gene conservation, and responses to climate change. Species of interest include forest trees as well as grasses and forbs used in restoration projects. This research has contributed to guidelines for the movement of plant populations, genetic conservation needs, and natural and managed responses to climate change.

Past Research

My past research has focused on geographic genetic variation of Douglas-fir and implications for choice of seed sources. This work indicates that Douglas-fir populations are unlikely to be well-adapted to future climates, and that populations adapted to climates at the end of the 21st century would come from considerably lower elevations and from much further south. Other past research has concerned the conservation of genetic resources, tree breeding strategies, intergenotypic competition, ideotype breeding, and realized genetic gains.

Why This Research is Important

Ensuring the productivity, health, and sustainability of forests and grasslands requires knowledge of how plants are adapted to past, current, and future environments.


  • Oregon State University, Ph.D. Forest Genetics 1989
  • University of Wisconsin, M.S. Forest Genetics 1984
  • University of California Berkeley, B.S. Forestry 1980

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Research Highlights


Century-Old Douglas-Fir Genetics Study Produces New Insights for Climate Change

The 1912 Douglas-Fir Heredity Study - one of the first studies established by the US USDA Forest Service - is particularly valuable owing to its ...


Climate of seed source affects susceptibility of Douglas-fir to foliage diseases

Douglas-fir at higher elevations and in more continental conditions in the Pacific Northwest could experience more foliar diseases as local envi ...


New Seed Zones for Bluebunch Wheatgrass Tested

New seed zones for bluebunch wheatgrass will help local, state, and federal land managers in the Interior Northwest to determine sources of blue ...


New tool puts the right seed in the right place for the coming climate

The web-based Seedlot Selection Tool helps forest and restoration managers match seedlots with planting sites based on climate information.


Provisional Seed Zones Developed to Guide Seed Source Decisions for Restoration of Native Species

Forest Service scientists developed generalized provisional seed zones that can be applied to any plant species in the United States to help gui ...


The Douglas-fir Seed-Source Movement Trial Sheds Light on Responses of Adaptive Traits to Changing Climates

This multi-site Forest Service study, encompassing a range of climate and soil conditions, is providing some very specific results on tree growt ...


Timing of flowering in Douglas-fir is determined by cool-season temperatures and genetic variation

New model predicts Douglas-fir flowering to within an average of 5 days of observed flowering date. Warmer temperatures in the future will likel ...


Last updated on : 11/17/2021