The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded a consortium of land-grant institutions in the South, which includes Virginia Tech, a $20 million Coordinated Agricultural Grant to study the effects of climate change on southern pine forests.
In making the announcement, Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, said, "The five-year grant will study climate change mitigation and adaptation as it relates to southern pines, particularly loblolly. It reflects a lot of hard work and cooperation with many researchers. Securing this level of support is a very impressive effort."
The 34 million acres of southern U.S. pine forests produce more timber than any other country in the world. These forests sequester 12 billion metric tons of carbon each year, 36 percent of the carbon sequestered annually by all forests in the lower 48 states.
Forestry is a major economic engine in the economy of all southern states. Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 billion annually in benefits to the commonwealth, where 144,000 people are employed in forestry-related industry jobs.
The research partnership is led by the University of Florida and, in addition to Virginia Tech, includes the following universities: Alcorn State, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Virginia State.
Thomas Fox (http://frec.vt.edu/Faculty/TomFox.html), professor of forest soils and silviculture in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, is the lead principal investigator (PI) from Virginia Tech on the $3.4 portion of the grant going to his department. He serves as the overall lead PI for silvicultural research on the grant as well as the Integration Team Leader for mitigation.
In this role, Fox will help coordinate and synthesize the work of the more th
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