August 22, 2019


MONTGOMERY, TEXAS – Dr. Tom Byram, Director of Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program (WGFTIP),was presented with the Forestry Innovation Award from Texas Forestry Association for his efforts to provide better forest genetics and the future of Texas forests.

“To be innovative, one must be forward-looking and Tom’s research is just that,” said Misty Bowie, TFA Education Coordinator. “Dr. Byram worked as Assistant Geneticist to screen hundreds of acres of Texas Forestry Association members’ lands for select southern pines and assisted with program delivery through progeny test and seed orchard reviews.”

WGFTIP is a pine and hardwood breeding and testing cooperative housed within the Texas A&M Forest Service. On behalf of the WGFTIP, Dr. Byram is relentless in his pursuit of genetic gain. In a quest to make clonal lines available to members to increase their probability of capturing gain, Dr. Byram took an innovative approach by offering membership in the cooperative to a non-traditional partner with a solid track record of producing clonal lines from pine. He developed a plan to create full-sib lines for the co-op’s wood quality elite program.

Dr. Byram is also honored for his work with molecular markers in forestry, a relatively new development in forestry.

“They hold tremendous potential for changing the way tree breeders operate and Dr. Byram’s research has produced one of the largest marker datasets for loblolly pint to-date,” Bowie said. “He has also been actively involved with the PINEMAP genetics group focusing on research to develop seedling deployment guidelines under different climate scenarios.

Dr. Byram serves on te Southern Forest Tree Improvement Committee, where he diligtently defended the use of chemicals by seed orchard managers to control seed bugs and coneworms.

“Dr. Byram’s work in forest genetics and tree improvement has the very best genetical material available for future forests,” Bowie said. “Improved productivity in pine plantations will have large regional economic impacts. Increased availability of hardwood species and ecologically important species, such as longleaf pine, will have significant societal impacts.”


Dr. Tom Byram accepts the Forestry Innovation Award for his efforts as Assistant Geneticist with WGFTIP from TFA Executive Director Ron Hufford during Texas Forestry Association’s annual convention held Oct. 26-28, 2016 at La Torretta Resort and Spa in Montgomery, Texas.


Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.