Five years ago, a vast team of researchers from 11 southeastern land-grant universities and a host of research cooperatives banded together to conduct an unprecedented study on southern pine forests funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. This initiative, the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP), was recently recognized with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Partnership Award.

Virginia Tech’s team included over a dozen graduate students, post-doctoral associates, and staff members in addition to the following faculty members: Harold Burkhart, Thomas Fox, Jason Holliday, John Seiler, Brian Strahm, R. Quinn Thomas, Valerie Thomas, and Randolph Wynne.

According to Fox, who served as the lead principal investigator on Virginia Tech’s portion of the project, PINEMAP had three main goals: research, outreach, and education. The project’s selection for the award is recognition of the successful integration of those missions. Efforts will continue well beyond the end of the current grant.

“We need to continue working to understand the pine forest ecosystem in the Southeast, which is a major economic driver in the region and provides tremendous environmental services that benefit society,” said Fox, who also served in other PINEMAP leadership roles. “We also need to continue our education and outreach efforts so that we can put the knowledge we gain to work improving people’s lives and the environment.”

Read the full press release.