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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Priority Areas

  • Climate Change
  • Forest Disturbances
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • Localized Needs (regional work)

The sites listed below are external or third-party sites which the Forest Service has provided for reference only.
Richard Cronn

Richard Cronn

Research Geneticist
3200 SW Jefferson Way
United States

Phone: 541-750-7291
Fax: 541-750-7329
Contact Richard Cronn

Current Research

  • Defining daily, seasonal and annual changes in gene expression in long-lived perennials (e.g., Douglas-fir Transcriptome Observatory).
  • Advancing genetic marker technologies for domestic and international trees to improve timber legality and to help prosecute timber theft.
  • Linking spatial genetic differentiation in conifers to migration, climatic and selective pressure from pathogens.
  • Adopting genomics technologies for applications in forest management, such as environmental DNA (eDNA).

Research Interests

  • Studying adaptation through the integration of gene expression, genetic variation, and phenotypic variation in restoration plant species.
  • Studying the population and evolutionary genetic history of western North American trees.
  • Understaind the role of polyploid in local aadptation and restoration success.

Past Research

  • Population and evolutionary genetics, and domestication historyof wild cottons
  • Gene evolution and gene expression in polyploid plant genomes
  • Biochemistry of antiretroviral agents targeting acquired immunodeficiency deficiency (AIDS) viruses

Why This Research is Important

Genes -- the DNA codes present in all living organisms -- are the basis of adaptive traits that make species resilient to a changing climate and an array of diseases. The genes of conifer trees are poorly understood, and this is especially true for genes that help trees adapt to changes in seasonal and annual weather. My work applies new genomics methods to address fundamental questions, such as: What genes do plants use to sense seasonal changes in light quality, temperature, and water availability? By defining genes that have a large impact on growth and health, we can use this information to guide breeding methods and plant selections that result in broadly adapted trees that contribute to resilient forest communities now and in the future.

The genes responsible for local adaptation can also be used to discriminate individual trees and identify the geographic and taxonomic source of tree products, such as wood, leaves or resins. We use this taxonomically- and spatially-informative genetic variation to design DNA fingerprinting tests that enable land managers and law enforcement to evaluate the legality of domestic and international wood products.


  • Iowa State University, Ph.D. Plant Genetics Evolutionary and population genetics 1997

Professional Organizations

  • Society for Wildlife Forensic Sciences, Member (2019 - )
  • Botanical Society of America, Member (1997 - )
    Editorial board of Applications in Plant Sciences (BSA publication)

Awards & Recognition

  • Public Lands Alliance Agency Leadership Award, 2021
    Non-governmental organization award that recognizes one public land management employee for their outstanding accomplishments in cultivating and leading partnerships.
  • Regional Forester’s Award, Alaska Region 10, USDA Forest Service, 2015
    Agency award for contributing to resource stewardship and comprehensive review of the status of imperiled yellow-cedar in Alaska.

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


A Climate Adaptation Strategy for Conservation and Management of Yellow-Cedar in Alaska

A new report assesss past, current, and expected future condition of yellow-cedar forests on all land ownerships where yellow-cedar grows in Ala ...


Combatting illegal logging with technology

Chemical fingerprints can determine the geographic origin of wood.


Genetic Analysis Shows the Scale and Pattern of Spatial Genetic Variation in Yellow-Cedar

Genetic analysis shows that yellow-cedar is a diverse and highly mobile species.


Genetic studies reveal population structure of fisher predate management

This research is being used to aid management decisions about whether these populations warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. Sci ...


Invisible eDNA Reveals Stream and Riparian Ecosystem Biodiversity

Environmental DNA is a powerful new approach that, with a single water sample, can detect a host of stream and riparian species—from pathogens ...


New genome sequencing method reveals a species evolutionary history

Organelle genomes from plants, animals, and fungi are used as genetic markers to track maternal diversity, historical migration, and maternally ...


Last updated on : 04/28/2021