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

Molly Cavaleri

Committee Member 1

Martin Jurgensen

Committee Member 2

Andrew Storer

Committee Member 3

Elizabeth Schultheis


Wood is vital to many natural ecosystems, as it provides energy, nutrients, and habitat for organisms from the micro- to the macro- scale. Wood is also critical to humans for similar reasons, and can be an important medium of art and education. This dissertation addresses three diverse aspects of wood with the contexts of science, art, and education. First, we explored the impact of timber harvest techniques and site preparation on microbial wood decay and subterranean termite responses on a forest-stand scale. The amount of coarse woody debris removed post-harvest, coupled with the location and species of the test wood stakes, significantly affected both termite and microbial-mediated decomposition after two and a half years of exposure. These findings help to better understand the impact of timber harvest practices on carbon cycling and associated modes of decay. We then explored effects of wood species and wood surface preparation on pyrography, the art of woodburning. The species of wood and the surface preparation significantly affected line and shading work in pyrography, with more detailed linework produced on hardwoods (Acer rubrum, Populus tremuloides) than on softwoods (Pinus taeda, Pinus strobus). Lastly, placing wood into an educational context, high school level lesson plans that address several science curriculum state and federal benchmarks were developed, to be taught through the active learning technique of pyrography. A general “Introduction to woodburning” lesson plan is included, followed by lesson plans for cellular respiration, human impacts on the environment, photosynthesis, and the carbon cycle. Lesson plans provide instructors with the resources needed to teach across both science and art curriculums. Each lesson plan includes background material, vocabulary, assignments, instructional videos, and PowerPoint presentations. These three chapters weave together science, art, and education using wood as the common thread.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License