Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Tara L Bal

Committee Member 1

Yvette L Dickinson

Committee Member 2

Andrew J Storer

Committee Member 3

Angie Carter


This dissertation describes the work accomplished towards mitigation of beech bark disease (BBD) through a joint venture by Michigan Technological University and the National Park Service. American beech is an ecologically important species that is threatened throughout its range by beech bark disease and other newer, emergent pressures such as climate change and beech leaf disease. A literature review is included to synthesize recent advances in American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) propagation and their application in mitigation of BBD (Chapter 2). These concepts are examined in an applied restoration framework to outline the importance of understanding ecological and technological context of the proposed project. It was determined that the target properties, Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshores, both in northern Michigan, are in differing phases of the progression of beech bark disease, making a restoration plan more complex. Planting sites and site preparation activities are proposed for the applied restoration project meeting ecological context and stakeholder’s objectives (Chapter 3). Development and refinement of methods for successfully grafting BBD-resistant American beech are described as knowledge transfer (Chapter 4). Furthermore, plain language, illustrated manuals were created to maintain institutional knowledge of the process to collect resistant scions and graft them to create resistant trees (Appendix A, B). Finally, a pilot study exploring methods for transplanting wildling American beech is described (Chapter 5) that confirms survivability for potentially a more cost-effective way to obtain grafting materials. This will also inform future work examining the potential transplanting of naturally resistant beech root sprouts, which may significantly reduce the monetary cost and increase long-term survival of fully resistant trees. Overall, the work described here details a holistic approach to the mitigation of beech bark disease through creation and planting of resistant American beech using local provenance genetic sources and considering a public agency’s objectives.