FORS 3000 Note: Because dendrology is an entire class, it is not considered a module for FORS 3000.


Dendrology is the study of woody plants, most commonly trees. The Conclave dendrology competition focuses solely on the identification of plants, mostly trees and shrubs with the occasional inclusion of some vines. Native and invasive or introduced species are included, although the event focuses on species found in forested areas near the host school. Contestants have 3 minutes to identify each specimen and record the common name, family, genus, and species. There are 20 trees in the competition, with varying points for each portion of the answer and penalties for incorrectly spelled, capitalized, or underlined names. Contestants may use visual aids (e.g. magnifying glass or binoculars), may break off twigs or leaves, cut into the bark, or use any other means of identification that does not kill the specimen. On rare occasion a contestant even climbs a tree to obtain a leaf or twig! Dendrology has been a Conclave event every year since at least 1960.

Dendrology Example Photo

Photo Credit: Students attempt to identify a tree at the 59th Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Clemson University. Photo by Jeremy Stovall.

Academic Background

Dendrology is critical to many tasks within forestry, whether ecosystems are being managed for timber, wildlife, water, recreation, or other uses. When cruising or marking timber, tree identification is necessary to discern between species with different values. The silvics, or ecology, of species varies, meaning that they respond differently to management practices such as thinning or herbicide application. Trees vary in their utility to produce browse, mast, or habitat structures for wildlife. Plant identification is one component considered when delineating wetlands, which can have substantial management implications under the Clean Water Act. These are but a few examples of the central role dendrology plays in the day-to-day profession of forestry.


Dendrology Websites

Past Dendrology Species Lists

Conclave Year Host Species List
48 2005 Stephen F. Austin State University PDF
50 2007 University of Tennessee PDF
54 2011 University of Georgia PDF
55 2012 North Carolina State University PDF
56 2013 Auburn University PDF
57 2014 Virginia Tech PDF
58 2015 Mississippi State University PDF
59 2016 Clemson University PDF
60 2017 Stephen F. Austin State University PDF
61 2018 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College PDF
62 2019 Louisiana State University PDF
63 2022 University of Tennessee PDF