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Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, Ph.D.

Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, Ph.D.
Research Botanist and Team Leader
Wood Anatomy and Forest Mycology in a Changing Global Environment
Center for Wood Anatomy Research
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
United States
Current Research
Botanical wood anatomy
  • Evolution of wood anatomical diversity
  • Wood anatomical flood response to seasonal inundation
Forensic wood science
  • Machine-vision wood identification with the XyloTron
    • Commercial woods of Mozambique
    • CITES-woods
    • Dalbergia and Pterocarpus
    • North American hardwoods
    • Commercial woods of Ghana
    • Commercial woods of Colombia
    • Commercial woods of Peru
  • Further develop organellar microcapture for trace evidence
Biocentric wood science
  • Practical methods to determine dimensional change coefficients for the flooring industry
  • Characterization of wood phenotype, including figure, in naturally occurring tree mutants (Populus, Prunus, Acer)
Other interdisciplinary cooperations or projects
  • Product claim verification in forest products supply chains and improved monitoring and determination of best practices
  • Identification and dating of the wooden cultural patrimony of the Taino people
Past Research
  • Systematic wood anatomy
  • Traditional wood identification
  • Anatomical aspects of early wood colonization by wood decay fungi
  • Wood-finish and wood-adhesive interactions
Research Interest
  • Elucidate the evolutionary interplay between ecology and phylogeny in wood anatomy as determinants of structure-function of trees, shrubs, and lianas.
  • Conduct foundational research and develop tools and methods to improve the ability of the wood industry to comply with - and law enforcement to apply - laws governing illegal logging.
  • Improve the use and utility of wood as a material by researching the biological origins of fundamental wood properties at the mesoscale and how they influence wood behavior in a range of contexts.
Why This Research Is Important
Wood is a fundamental part of human material culture going back to prehistory.  We have used it for tools, for fuel, for shelter, and even (a surprise to many) for food.  Understanding the biological origins of wood provides a critical contextual framework for interpreting wood evolution, wood forensics, and the modern use of wood in its many forms.
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, B.S., Department of Botany, 1997
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, M.S., Department of Botany, 2001
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison, Ph.D., Department of Botany, 2008
Professional Experience
  • Adjunct Professor,  Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, Mississippi State University,  2020 - Current
  • Professor Estrangeiro,  Universidade Estadual Paulista - Botucatu, Departamento de Botanica,  2014 - Current
  • Adjunct Associate Professor,  University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of Botany,  2013 - Current
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor,  Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources,  2012 - Current
Professional Organizations
  • Board Member,  National Association of Floor Covering Technicians,  2020 - Current
  • Elected Fellow,  International Academy of Wood Science,  2018 - Current
  • Deputy Executive Secretary,  International Association of Wood Anatomists,  2018 - Current
  • Member,  International Association of Wood Anatomists,  2012 - present
  • Associate Editor,  International Association of Wood Anatomists,  2003 - present
  • Editorial Board Member,  International Association of Wood Anatomists,  2012 - 2017
  • Exceutive Council Member,  International Association of Wood Anatomists,  2012 - 2017
Awards & Recognition
  • Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award, 2017
    Awarded in recognition of my research program using forensic wood science to investigate certified wood product supply chains.
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Machine Vision Wood Identification of Endangered Tropical Woods

Year: 2018
Field identification of wood (screening) is the first step in a forensic workflow to combat illegal logging. Similarly, industries interested in proactively managing their supply chains to ensure only legally logged material also need access to such field screening expertise. Screenings are currentl...

Fraud in U.S. Retail Forest Products and Forensic Capacity

Year: 2019
Fraud and misrepresentation in U.S. retail forest products greatly exceeds the forensic capacity to combat it.

Field-Portable XyloTron Outperforms Laboratory-Based DART Mass Spectrometry Wood Identification For Mahogany Family

Year: 2020
Imagine you are inspecting a wood shipment and you suspect someone is smuggling mahogany, an endangered species. You could remove a small specimen, ship it to a distant laboratory, and wait days for an answer, or you could use FPL’s XyloTron to capture an image of the wood’s anatomy and get an answe...

The Xylotron: A Field-Deployable Machine-Vision Wood Identification System

Year: 2014
The Xylotron is a machine-vision-based wood identification system that uses a custom-designed wood imaging device (the Xyloscope), image analysis, and statistical processing software run from a laptop/netbook. With it, users can identify over 150 species of wood more accurately than trained law enfo...

Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material

Year: 2010
The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general public through architects and design engineers who use wood in highly engineered structures.