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 McCaskill

George L. McCaskill, PhD

Research Forester
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande
United States

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

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.


McCaskill, George L.; Albright, Thomas; Barnett, Charles J.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Widmann, Richard H.; Woodall, Christopher W. 2016. Maine Forests 2013. Resour. Bull. NRS-103. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 103 p.

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 palustris Mill). 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 give us the ability to predict future needs.


  • University of Florida, Ph.D. Forest Resources Forest Ecosystem Ecology and Restoration Ecology 2008
  • California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, M.S. International Agricultural Development International Agroforestry 1997
  • University of Arizona, B.S. Renewable Natural Resources Forest Watershed Management 1983

Professional Organizations

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF), Full Member (2017 - Current)
    Present papers at annual convention.
  • California Registered Professional Forester # No. 2345, Licensed To Practice Professional Forestry (1986 - Current)
    Exam covers the California Forest Practice Act and the multiple disciplines in Forestry. Passed first attempt, while 65% failed.

Awards & Recognition

  • Cash Award for Exceptional Performance, 2012
  • Cash Award for Exceptional Performance, 2011

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Better Together: Combined Thinning and Burning Yielded Best Growing Conditions for Ponderosa Pines 20 Years After Treatment

Dry ponderosa pine forests in northeastern Oregon that received both prescribed fire and mechanical thinning treatments 20 years ago now have th ...


Last updated on : 10/06/2020