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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

(1989) State of Iowa Scholar. Iowa State University.

(1989) Scholarship of Recognition. Iowa State University.

(1989) J. Milton Cone Freshman Forestry Scholarship. Iowa State University.

(1989) Dean’s List—Fall Semester. Iowa State University.

(1989) College of Agriculture Freshman Scholarship. Iowa State University.

(1990) High Scholarship Student. Iowa State University.

(1990) Dean’s List—Spring Semester. Iowa State University.

(1990) Dean’s List—Fall Semester. Iowa State University.

(1991) Keith Bauer Book Award. Iowa State University.

(1991) Full Member of Honors Program. Iowa State University.

Selected Publications

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

Shields, J., Jenkins, M., Saunders, M., Zhang, H., Jenkins, L., & Parks, A. (2014). Age distribution and spatial patterning of an invasive shrub in secondary hardwood forests. Forest Science, 60(5), 830-840. 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

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

Brown, C., Bailey, B., Saunders, M., & Jacobs, D. (2014). Effects of root competition on development of chestnut and oak regeneration following midstory removal. Forestry, 87(4), 562-570. Retrieved from

Nelson, A., Wagner, R., Weiskittel, A., & Saunders, M. (in press). Effects of species composition, management intensity, and shade tolerance on vertical distribution of leaf area index in juvenile stands in Maine, USA. European Journal of Forest Research.

Shields, J., Jenkins, M., Saunders, M., Gibson, K., Zollner, P., & Dunning, Jr., J. (in press). Influence of intensity and duration of invasion by Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) on mixed-hardwood forests of Indiana. Invasive Plant Science and Management.

Morrissey, R., Saunders, M., & Jenkins, M. (in press). Long-term spatiotemporal responses to overstory disturbance in managed and unmanaged forests. Forestry.

Saunders, M., Jenkins, M., Michler, C., & Webster, C. (2014). Piecing together the fragments äóñ select papers from the Ninth North American Forest Ecology Workshop. Forest Science, 60(5), 817-818. Retrieved from

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