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Michael R Saunders

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Associate Professor of Ecology and Natural Resources
PFEN Room 221C
715 W State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907

More on Dr. Mike Saunders

Research Group - Ecology of Natural SystemsForest Biology

Facilities - Forest Ecology, Soils, and Silviculture Lab

Related Centers - Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center

Purdue Extension - FNR Extension

Michael R. Saunders is an Associate Professor of Silviculture in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) at Purdue University.  Michael holds a B.S. in Forestry from Iowa State University in 1994, a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University in 1994, a M.S. in Forest Management with a minor in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Minnesota in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Forest Management with an emphasis in Silviculture from the University of Maine in 2006.  He joined the faculty in July 2007.

Michael’s main research emphasis includes: 1) the development of silvicultural systems that increase the range of variability within natural stands and/or emulate natural disturbance regimes within a given region, 2) improvement of growth and yields within intensively managed systems, and 3) the influence of silviculture on wildlife habitat requirements.  He also is involved in projects concerning precommercial thinning in spruce-fir stands within the Northeast and improvement of growth and yield models in the eastern U.S.

Awards & Honors

(2007) Faculty Associate. University of Maine.

(2011) Chair. Indiana Society of American Foresters.

Selected Publications

Shields, J., Jenkins, M., Zollner, P., & Saunders, M. (2014). Effects of amur honeysuckle invasion and removal on white-footed mice. Journal of Wildlife Management, 78(5), 867-880. Retrieved from

Shields, J. M., Jenkins, M. A., Saunders, M. R., Gibson, K. D., Zollner, P. A., & Dunning, J. B. (2015). Influence of intensity and duration of invasion by Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) on mixed-hardwood forests of Indiana. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 8, 55-56. doi:10.1614/IPSM-D-14-00044.1

Morrissey, R. C., Saunders, M. R., & Jenkins, M. A. (2015). Successional and structural responses to overstorey disturbance in managed and unmanaged forests. Forestry, 88(3), 376-389. doi:10.1093/forestry/cpv009

Morrissey, R., Jenkins, M., & Saunders, M. (2014). Accumulation and connectivity of coarse woody debris in partial harvest and unmanaged relict forests. PLOS One, 9(11), e113323. Retrieved from

Nelson, A., Weiskittel, A., Wagner, R., & Saunders, M. (2014). Development and validation of small-diameter aboveground biomass equations for naturally-regenerated and planted tree species in eastern Maine. Biomass and Bioenergy, 68, 215-227. Retrieved from

Clark, S., Schlarbaum, S., Pinchot, C., Anagnostakis, S., Saunders, M., Thomas-Van Grundy, M., . . . Williamson, T. (2014). Reintroduction of American chestnut in the National Forest System. Journal of Forestry, 112(5), 502-512. Retrieved from

Belair, E., Saunders, M., & Bailey, B. (2014). Underplanting American chestnut in oak-hickory forests: effects of midstory removal, root trenching, and weeding treatments on growth and surviva. Forest Ecology and Management, 329(1), 21-29. Retrieved from

Meier, A., & Saunders, M. (2013). Assessing internal epicormic dynamics in Quercus alba L. using CT scanning: the strong effects of shoot development and tree growth relative to progeny level genetic variation. Trees - Structure and Function, 27(4), 865-877. Retrieved from http://DOI: 10.1007/s00468-013-0840-x

Meier, A., Saunders, M., & Michler, C. (2012). Epicormic buds in trees: a review of bud establishment, development and dormancy release. Tree Physiology, 32(5), 565-584.

Saunders, M., Seymour, R., & Wagner, R. (in press). The Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program: an example of disturbance-based silviculture in the Northeast. In The Penobscot Experimental Forest: 60 years of research, education and demonstration (1950-2010). General Technical Report NRS-XX.