ESSM News & Events 2011 2011 - International Year of Forests The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The ESSM faculty greatly contributed internationally in forest conservation, breeding and genetics. Dr. Konstantin (Kostya) Krutovsky from the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management was recently appointed as a Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO's Research Group 2.02.00 - Conifer breeding and genetic resources. One of the considerations for the prestigious position by the International forest community was Dr. Krutovsky contribution in conifer genetics and breeding. Dr. Krutovsky primary research interest is in understanding the genetic control of complex traits that define adaptation and response to environmental stresses in conifers, as well as traits of practical value, such as wood quality, growth, and disease resistance. Conifers have significant economic and environmental importance, and a remarkable evolution. Dr. Krutovsky is using genomic and cDNA/EST nucleotide sequences to find alleles that are under positive or negative selection. He collaborates on the Douglas-fir and Loblolly Pine Genome Projects and on the Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN) to find candidate genes for adaptive traits and to use association mapping for identification of the specific loci and alleles that are responsible for phenotypic differences in adaptive traits. Dr. Krutovsky applies population genomic approaches to analyze also population substructure, adaptation and evolution in Douglas-fir and Southern pines. This knowledge will lead to developing new pine breeding program and a new seed deployment tool that will help mitigate the detrimental effects of warmer and drier climate in the southeastern United States. The Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (ESSM) was formed in March 2007 by a merger of the Departments of Rangeland Ecology and Management and Forest Science. This new academic Department reflects an expanded emphasis on ecosystem science and natural resource management in its education, research, and extension programs. The Department is in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and it is comprised of 50 faculty, 57 staff, and 100 graduate and 230 undergraduate students. The primary mission of the Department is to 'solve real world problems with research-based solutions'.