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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Todd Hutchinson

Research Ecologist
359 Main Road
United States

Phone: 740-368-0064
Contact Todd Hutchinson

Current Research

My current research focuses on the sustainability, biodiversity, and fire ecology of mixed-oak forests. Field sites are located primarily in the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau of southern Ohio.

  • Long-term effects of prescribed fire. We are studying how repeated prescribed fires have altered the structure and regeneration of mixed-oak forests, over 13-years. We are particularly interested in how vegetation responds across the landscape and how fire has altered gap-phase regeneration. Collaborators: Elaine Kennedy Sutherland, Daniel Yaussy, Joanne Rebbeck, and Robert Long.
  • Fire and Fire Surrogates Study: We are documenting how fire and thinning, alone and in combination, alter forest structure, regeneration and the herbaceous-layer of mixed-oak forests. Collaborators: Daniel Yaussy, Louis Iverson, Brian McCarthy.
  • The use of shelterwood harvests, prescribed fire, and herbicides to promote oak regeneration. This study is investigating the use of spring growing-season fires and targeted herbicide application to improve the competitive status of oak regeneration in conjunction with shelterwood harvests. Collaborator: Joanne Rebbeck.
  • The invasive tree Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) in a managed forest landscape. At Tar Hollow State Forest, we are studying 1) the distribution of Ailanthus in relation to landscape attributes, prescribed fire, and timber harvesting, and 2) the direct effects of fire on Ailanthus. Collaborators: Joanne Rebbeck, Louis Iverson, Daniel Yaussy.
  • Other ongoing studies:
    • A common garden study of how oak and maple litter affect fire behavior (collaborator: Matthew Dickinson).
    • Fire history of the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest (collaborators: Robert Long, Elaine Kennedy Sutherland).
    • The vascular flora of the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest: 50 years of change (collaborators: Marilyn Ortt, Richard Gardner).
    • Response of herbaceous communities in forests impacted by emerald ash borer (collaborators: Kathleen Knight, Alejandro Royo, Robert Long).

Research Interests

Future potential research projects include:

  • Predictive mapping of presettlement vegetation in southern Ohio (collaborator: James Dyer)
  • 70-years of forest change in Neotoma, Hocking Hills, Ohio (collaborator: Ralph Boerner).
  • Competitive interactions between sassafras and oak in response to fire and partial harvesting (collaborator: Joanne Rebbeck)


  • Ohio State University, Ph.D. Ecology
  • Miami University, M.S. Botany
  • University of Louisville, B.A. Biology

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America
  • Torrey Botanical Society
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF)

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Insights from a 250-year history of fire in the Appalachian Plateau of Ohio and Kentucky

In many eastern U.S. forests, undesirable shifts in tree species abundance are occurring. For oaks and pines, it is widely believed that the dec ...


Repeated Prescribed Fires Help Sustain Oak Regeneration in Eastern Forests

Research findings can help managers in their quest to sustain this forest type throughout Eastern North America


Shift Toward Mesophytic Species in Oak Forests May Limit Fire Reintroduction

Exclusion of fire from eastern mixed-oak forests is widely understood to be an important explanation for difficulty in regenerating oaks. Forest ...


The Devil is in the Details for Regeneration Success in Mixed-oak Forests

To improve oak regeneration, Forest Service scientists are studying shelterwood harvest with herbicide and prescribed fire treatments. Although ...


Understanding Long-Term Impacts of an Invasive, Tree-Killing Pest

The emerald ash borer has been killing ash trees in the United States for more than two decades. What does that mean for ash populations and the ...


Last updated on : 09/28/2020