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Jim Zaczek

Jim Zaczek, Professor


As a Saluki Forestry alumnus, I strive to continue the quality educational opportunities imparted to me by my former SIU professors. 

Courses that I teach include: Ecology of North American Forests, Forest Ecosystems, Tree Physiology, and Professional Preparation in Forestry. My main research interests and activities include restoration ecology of giant cane ecosystems (Arundinaria gigantea, a native bamboo), regenerating oak forests, and plant/tree propagation.

Research Interests and Specialties

Dr. Zaczek's research encompasses the biology, ecology, and genetics of trees with emphasis on oak; restoration and regeneration ecology of hardwood forest ecosystems; stand dynamics in old growth hardwood forests; ontogenetic changes in trees; propagation of recalcitrant woody plants. Current research emphasis focuses on the restoration of giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) habitat including the propagation, establishment, growth, and canebrake development. He has received a total of $8.9 million in research grant funding as of the fall of 2020, from 54 separate contracts. Dr. Zaczek is currently the Principal Investigator for Investigating Native Bamboo Management Practices for Nursery Sustainability, Lakeshore Conservation and Habitat Restoration, a project funded for the years 2019-2023 by the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Grant, National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Jim Zaczek
Office: Agriculture Building, Room 186-B
Phone: 618-453-7465


  • Ecology of North American Forests
  • Forest Ecosystems
  • Tree Physiology: Concepts and Applications

 Descriptions available for each of these classes in course listings for Forestry [FOR].


  • 1991-94 Ph. D. Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
  • 1980-82 M. S. Forestry, Concentration in Forest Genetics, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
  • 1977-80 B. S. Forestry, Resource Management Specialization, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL (SIUC).
  • 1975-77 Forest Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Achievement and Leadership

  • Served on over 60 Graduate Student Committees at SIUC.
  • 37 invited talks at professional meetings
  • >200 presentations and abstracts at professional meetings
  • Awarded Honorary State FFA Degree for meritorious service to agricultural education
  • “Outstanding Alumnus” by the Department of Forestry, SIUC.
  • “Outstanding Recent Alumnus” by the School of Forest Resources at Pennsylvania State University
  • The Donald M. Elkins Excellence in Education Award. College-wide recognition for teaching achievement presented by the COAS Student Advisory Council, SIUC.
  • Co-inventor (with H. D. Gerhold) of three separate varieties (PennSpanish-II, Pennpal-75, and Pennmerritt-74) of genetically improved Christmas tree seed of Pinus sylvestris L. as officially approved by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Chair and Vice Chair of the Illinois Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, 2007-2008.

Recent Publications

(Selected from 46 peer-reviewed publications)

  • Goble, M.D., G. Singh, J.E. Schoonover, K.W.J. Williard, and J.J. Zaczek. 2018.  Allometry, morphometry, and soil characterization of giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) stands. Ecological Restoration 36(4): 315-324. doi: 10.3368/er.36.4.315.
  • Eade, A.W., G. Singh, J.E. Schoonover, J.J. Zaczek, and K.W.J. Williard. 2018. Innovative sandbag propagation method for giant cane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walter) Muhl.]. Castanea 83(2): 173-182.
  • Schoonover, J.E., J.F. Crim, K.W.J. Williard, J.W. Groninger, J.J. Zaczek, and K. Pattumma. 2015.  Sediment dynamics within buffer zone and sinkhole splay areas under extreme soil disturbance. Environmental Management.  doi: 10.1007/s00267-015-0523-z.
  • Beck, W.J., J.E. Schoonover, K.W.J. Williard, and J.J. Zaczek. 2013.  Attenuation and persistence of fecal indicator bacteria in vegetated buffer strips in Southern Illinois, USA. Agroforestry Systems 87(6): 1405-1419.
  • Schoonover, J.E., J.L. Hartleb, J.J. Zaczek, and J.W. Groninger. 2011.  Growing giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) for canebrake restoration: Greenhouse propagation and field trials. Ecological Restoration 29(3): 234-242.
  • Zaczek, J.J., S.G. Baer, and D. Dalzotto. 2010. Fire and fertilization effects on the growth and spread of rhizome-transplanted giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea). Restoration Ecology 18: 462-468. Suppl. 2. doi/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00560.x/full.
  • Ruzika, K.J., J.W. Groninger, and J.J. Zaczek. 2010. Deer browsing, forest edge effects, and vegetation dynamics following bottomland forest restoration. Restoration Ecology 18:702-710.
  • Romano*, S.P, S.G. Baer, J.J. Zaczek, and K.W.J. Williard. 2009. Site modeling methods for detecting hydrologic alteration of flood frequency and flood duration in the floodplain below the Carlyle Dam, Lower Kaskaskia River, Illinois, USA. River Research and Applications 25:975-984.
  • Zaczek, J.J, S.G. Baer, J.L. Hartleb, W.W. Brendecke, J.E. Schoonover, K.W.J. Williard, and J.W. Groninger. 2009.  Survival and genet growth and development of field-planted giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) over time in southern Illinois. Castanea 74(3): 286-299.
  • Blattel C.R., K.W.J. Williard, S.G. Baer, J.E. Schoonover, and J.J. Zaczek. 2009. Ground water nitrogen dynamics in giant cane and forest riparian buffers. Castanea 74(3): 259-270.