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Register for White Oak in West Virginia Webinar

Hand holding up a leaf from a white oak tree. The leaf is red from fall coloring.

Join us as we dive into the opportunities and challenges related to sustaining and harvesting white oak trees in West Virginia.

Tuesday, February 2

9 a.m. to Noon

This online seminar has been approved for the following continuing education credits: 

  • SAF CFEs: 3 credits in Category 1
  • WVDA Pesticide Credits: 6 credits in Categories 3, 4a, 7, 11, PA
  • ISA Credits: Available 

Below is an overview of each session during the seminar. Registration must be completed ahead of time by completing the online registration form. 


9 a.m.         Welcome & Introduction

Dave McGill, WVU Extension Service Forest Resources Specialist;  Chuck Copeland, Assistant State Forester for Management, WV Division of Forestry; & Amy Hill, Forest Stewardship Coordinator, USDA Forest Service

Our ever-changing forests seem to present new surprises more and more rapidly in today’s global economy. This forum will feature viewpoints of one of those surprises, the increasing demand for white oak, the key ingredient for bourbon cooperage. This introduction will summarize a few of the events and activities that have led to this demand.

9:10 a.m.    West Virginia Forest Policy Update

Eric Carlson, Executive Director, West Virginia Forestry Association

Eric Carlson will discuss some current and expected policy issues impacting forests and forest products in West Virginia.

9:20 a.m.    Update on White Oak Prices

Ben Spong, WVU Extension Service Forest Operations Specialist

WVU Extension Service and Appalachian Hardwood Center monitors stumpage values of various species in West Virginia. Ben Spong will review trends in white oak stumpage prices and give overview of white oak prices across the region.

9:35 a.m.    Spatiotemporal Trends of White Oak in West Virginia

Randall Morin, Forest Inventory and Analysis, USDA Forest Service

Randy Morin will describe the importance of white oak in eastern forests relative to other oaks and to general species composition. Forest inventory data from the last few decades will be used to illustrate trends in white oak volume, growth, removals, mortality and regeneration. The goal of the presentation is to highlight the distribution of white oak in West Virginia relative to its geographic range and what trends in the inventory data may portend for its future.

10 a.m.        Ecology and Regeneration of White Oak

Melissa Thomas VanGundy, Research Forester, USFS

Melissa Thomas VanGundy will share the general silvics and ecology of white oak and compare white oak to other oaks in the region. Links will be made from the ecology and site requirements for white oak to the basics of white oak management with a focus on regeneration. As with other oak species, regeneration is a process and not an event and the need for competitive stems in the regeneration layer in advance of a regeneration harvest will be stressed. Several management tools will be briefly presented – Oak SILVAH and REGEN3/FVS – and the management options given in the SILVAH guide presented and discussed.

1 0:30 a.m.       West Virginia Great Barrel Company

Phil Cornett, Founding Partner and Timber/Stave Manager

The West Virginia Great Barrel Company in Caldwell, West Virginia, uses white oak in their barrel factory. In this presentation Phil Cornett, company founding partner and timber/stave manager, will talk about the WVGBC, its current status and outlook for the future.

11 a.m.              White Oak Initiative – Assessment and Plan for Long-term Sustainability

Melissa Moeller and Taylor Tibbals, American Forest Foundation

Currently, there are enough American white oak trees in forests across the eastern United States. However, we know populations of young trees are declining and we must think, plan, and act now to prevent a crisis situation in the future. Learn about the White Oak Initiative and the Initiative’s Assessment and Conservation plan which outlines the group’s commitment and strategy to attain long-term sustainability of white oak forests – and their economic, social, and environmental benefits – for centuries, not just decades.

11:30 a.m.        What should we in West Virginia be thinking about? Q&A Discussion

Moderators: Dave McGill, Chuck Copeland & Amy Hill

Panel speakers and the audience will engage in a discussion about white oak and what opportunities there might be for West Virginia landowners, forestry and conservation professionals, and the industry.