Tara L. Bal

Tara L. Bal


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  • Assistant Professor, Forest Health
  • Master of Forestry Degree Program Director
  • Wood Protection Group, Microbiology/Pathology Lab Leader
  • Certified Forester, Society of American Foresters
  • PhD, Forest Science, Michigan Technological University
  • M.S. Forest Ecology and Management, Michigan Technological University
  • B.S. in Forestry, Purdue University

Healthy Forests are vital for our future

My research, which focuses on forest health, and its biotic and abiotic influencing factors, helps provide scientific foundation for management policies and the ecological response to changes in forest health conditions.  Influencing factors include forest entomology, pathology, invasive species ecology, climate, nutrients, and anthropogenic  impacts.  Forest Health is a key driver of management in many forested systems and is becoming the main focus for managers more often as new diseases, pests and plants are introduced in our global economy. Innovative and applied research is vitally important to the diversity and sustainability of our forests.  I explore problem-solving strategies for mitigation of issues that affect our forests and forest products, and convey the latest science to students, industry, and the general public. 

I also seek to facilitate change and make positive strides in the forestry and natural resources fields by valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to mentorship and working with research graduate students, I advise the Master of Forestry students.  My goal is to prepare students to be professionals across a range of forestry fields, emphasizing networking, communication, and other professional skills. 

Michigan Technological University Insect Collection 

Teaching Interests

  • Forest Health
  • Forest Entomology
  • Forest Pathology
  • Wild Foods, Maple Syrup & Culture
  • Professionalism

Areas of Expertise

  • Forest Health Management and Monitoring
  • Forest Education, Diversity and Inclusion in Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Invasion Ecology
  • Wood Decay Testing and Pathology
  • Insect, Fungi, and Environmental Education, Pedagogy