Common Trees of Appalachia Login




Dr. Seiler

Dr. John Seiler

(540) 231-5461

230J Cheatham Hall

Office Hours: Any time, unless I am in class, a meeting, or out of town.

Course Objectives

Introduction to the natural history, tree biology, tree identification, forest ecology, management and forest types of the Appalachian region. Identify parts of trees and define the function of various organs. Examine the relationship between tree health, growth, and the environment; describe forest soils and their relationship to forest growth and productivity and sustainability. Learn the common forest management practices used in Appalachian forests. Describe common insect, disease pests and environmental pressures impacting the forests of the Appalachian region. Identify common tree species and forest types of the Appalachian region.

Expectations of Students

Just as you expect us to attend lecture, we expect you to attend lecture. If you miss a lecture, it is your responsibility to get the material. Four quizzes are given during the semester. Except in the case of extreme extenuating circumstances, these cannot be made up! You pay approximately $30 for every lecture, whether you come or not, so work to get your money's worth. Come to class!


This will be determined by three formal exams. Each will count 30% of your grade. Four short announced quizzes distributed throughout the semester will make up the final 10 %. Final grades will be assigned based on the following breakdown:

Numerical GradeCourse Grade
93 or aboveA
59 or belowF

The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states:

“As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.”

Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is responsible for obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the University community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code.

For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit: More information on the Honor system


Eastern Deciduous Forest: Ecology and Wildlife Conservation by Richard Yahner. 2000. University of Minnesota Press. 295 p. Available at the book store. Common Trees of Appalachia. 2016. John R. Seiler and John A. Peterson. Virginia Tech. This interactive book/tutorial contains thousands of photos of all the trees (plus some others) you are required to learn this semester. To purchase the tutorial you will need to register for it and then your Virginia Tech account will be billed $30.00. Click here to log in and use your PID and the initial password Kermit to gain access.

Syllabus by topics

  1. Overview of Appalachian region and history
  2. Tree structure and function
  3. Ecological processes
  4. Forest management
  5. Environmental pressures and pests

Trees of the week

  1. Very Popular: yellow-poplar, red maple, white oak
  2. Also Popular: eastern white pine, black oak
  3. Confusing Leaves: white ash, hickory
  4. Tasty Treats: sassafras, sugar maple
  5. Riverside Filters: silver maple, sycamore
  6. Prized Hardwoods: black cherry, black walnut, northern red oak
  7. Old Field Invaders: Virginia pine, eastern redcedar
  8. Fire Lovers: Table Mountain pine, chestnut oak
  9. Canadian Holdovers: red spruce, Fraser fir
  10. Not So Prized Hardwoods: sourwood, scarlet oak
  11. Invaders! tree-of-Heaven, autumn-olive
  12. Spring Beauties: eastern redbud, flowering dogwood
  13. Endangered Heritage: American chestnut, eastern hemlock