Virginia Tech's department of forestry in the College of Natural Resources and the department of forestry at North Carolina State University have recently formed a partnership to jointly run the Forest Nutrition Research Cooperative. Thomas Fox, associate professor of forestry in Virginia Tech's forestry department, and H. Lee Allen, professor of forestry from NCSU, serve as co-directors of the program.

The Forest Nutrition Research Cooperative is a forestry industry and university cooperative similar to other co-ops currently at Virginia Tech. The Forestry Nutrition Research Cooperative was founded in 1969 to conduct applied research on forest fertilization in pine plantations in the South.

In recent years, the program expanded its activities into broader areas of silviculture (care of forest trees), remote sensing, growth and yield, and basic research on nutrient cycling in plantation forest ecosystems. The program has also expanded internationally, and currently conducts research on nutrition of pines and eucalyptus species in Argentina, Chile and Columbia.

There are currently 25 members of the program including U.S.-based industrial forest products companies, large pension funds, South American industrial forest product companies, large forest consulting companies, and a number of forestry suppliers. These companies own and manage over 20 million acres of pine plantations in the southern United States, and 3 million acres of pine and eucalyptus plantations in South America.

"This new partnership will strengthen the existing connections between Virginia Tech and the forest industry," Fox stresses. In the past, there have been close links between the Forest Nutrition Research Cooperative at NCSU and the Growth Yield Cooperative at Virginia Tech.

The annual budget for the program will include projects involving graduate students and postdoctoral students in Blacksburg. It will also provide opportunities for exchange of graduate students between the two institutions. "This formal partnership will generate many opportunities for us at Virginia Tech because the strengths of the forestry program here compliment those at NCSU," Fox explains.

Written by Hilary Fussell, Public Affairs Assistant