Photo of Dennis ShannonDennis Shannon

Professor – Row Crops

Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences


1983 Ph.D., Cornell University (Agronomy/Crop Science)
1979 M.S., Cornell University (Agronomy/Crop Science)
1976 BSc (Agr), McGill University (Plant Science/Agronomy)
1970 B.A., Goshen College (Biology)


Positions Held:

2004-present Professor, Auburn University
1996-2004 Associate Professor, Auburn University
1990-1996 Assistant Professor, Auburn University
1985-1990 Scientist/Agronomist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Democratic Republic of Congo
1983-1985 Junior Scientist/Grain Legume Agronomist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria

Professional Roles:

2006-present Faculty Distance Education Coordinator, Department of Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences
1992-2001 Campus Coordinator for Auburn University, Productive Land Use Systems Project, USAID/Haiti
1990-1991 Senior Agroforester, Agroforestry II Project, USAID/Haiti
1989-1990 Advisor to National Maize Program, Lubumbashi, Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo)
1985-1989 Advisor to National Legume Program, Gandajika, Zaire

Honors and Awards

Appointed by Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) to the BIFAD Task Force on Haiti, 2010
Phi Beta Delta, 1993

Professional Affiliations

American Society of Agronomy
Crop Science Society of America
Soil Science Society of America
Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association (founding member)

Research Activities

My current research, which began in 2006, focuses on medicinal crops as potential new cash crops for Alabama. The goal is to identify medicinal plant species that are adapted to Alabama with market potential and determine cropping practices and varieties that enhance the quantity and yield of bioactive compounds. We are currently focusing on ways to increase concentration and yield of curcumin in turmeric (Curcuma longa). This can be achieved by selecting for varieties with high concentration of curcumin and extending the growing season. We are also studying the effect of shade on rhizome yield and curcumin concentration. Past research has been on American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and on Astragalus membranaceous.

Prior research focused on alley cropping, an agroforestry system in which annual crops are grown between rows of closely-planted N-fixing trees that are pruned and the prunings applied to the soil as mulch. The goal was to sustain and increase maize yields through application of N-rich leaves as mulch. My research focused on management of the tree hedgerows to optimize maize yield and tree biomass production by controlling pruning regimes to minimize tree-crop competition. We also studied alley cropping as a cost-effective alternative to conventional terraces for soil and water conservation on sloping land, measuring runoff, sediment and nutrient losses and crop yield. We examined the effects of hedgerow pruning regime on competition for water, light and nutrients in maize grown in the alleys.

We assessed over 35 hedgerow species under a range of environmental conditions (rainfall, elevation, temperature, soils) in Haiti, compared alley cropping with other soil conservation barriers, and assessed hedgerow management practices in alley cropping. We studied N cycling and P and K fertility in relation to alley cropping, and N, C, P and K release rates from decomposing leaves of tree hedgerows. Two trials were conducted for 14 or more seasons of continuous cropping, giving us long-term data that is available for only a few alley cropping sites around the world. This research enables us to develop comprehensive recommendations on alley cropping for Haiti and similar environments.

Extension ACtivities

Current outreach activities focus on providing support for medicinal plant growers in Alabama through the Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association and through support to the Medicinal Plant Garden on the Agronomy Farm. Ms. Tia Gonzales is curator of the garden and provides monthly tours during the summer months as well as individualized group tours and workshops. I also coordinate our department’s distance education program, which provides graduate degrees in Agronomy and Soils, in Turfgrass Management, and in Soil, Water and Environmental Science.

The goal of my international outreach is to increase productivity and sustainability of agricultural production through agronomic research and technical assistance. I am currently involved with a USAID Feed the Future project in northern Haiti and in a training of Haitian soil scientists in soil survey. In the past, I have provided technical assistance in alley cropping in the Jequitinhonha Valley in Brazil, as well as in Haiti. I supported on-farm research and provided other technical assistance with USAID, USDA and the World Bank projects in Haiti. For 10 years, I provided leadership for technical assistance to USAID’s Productive Land Use Systems Project, and was responsible for agronomic, agroforestry, tree improvement and marketing research. I have also had small activities in Vietnam, West Africa and Kenya. Prior to coming to Auburn, I provided research support to the Ministry of Agriculture in Congo and carried out grain legume research in Nigeria.

 Recent COURSES Taught

CSES 6083/6086

Soil Resources and Conservation. Taught Fall semesters

Select Publications


  • Similien, A., D. A. Shannon, C. Wesley Wood, Agnes M. Rimando, Barbara W. Kemppainen, Edzard van Santen and Nirmal Joshee. 2016. Shade, Irrigation and Nutrients Affect Flavonoid Concentration and Yield in American Skullcap. Crop Science 56:1213 – 1224. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2015.03.0186
  • Molnar, Joseph J., Senakpon Kokoye, Curtis Jolly, Dennis A. Shannon and Gobena Huluka. 2015. Agricultural Development in Northern Haiti: Mechanisms and Means for Moving Key Crops Forward in a Changing Climate. J. Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 4 (2): 25-41.
  • Shannon, Dennis A., Meili Wang, Barbara Kemppainen, Charles C. Mitchell and Saeid Zehtab Salmasi. 2014. Adaptation of Astragalus membranaceus varieties to Southeastern United States: Growth, Root Development and Astragaloside IV Content. Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2 (3): 80-91.
  • Shiwakoti, Santosh, Dennis A. Shannon, C. Wesley Wood, Kathy S. Lawrence, Barbara Kemppainen, Nirmal Joshee, Agnes Rimando. 2014. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Effects on Biomass Yield and Flavonoid Content of American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) J. Plant Nutrition. In press.
  • Lohani, Madhukar, Manuj Ahuja, Manal A. Buabeid, Dean Schwartz, Dennis Shannon, Vishnu Suppiramaniam , Barbara Kemppainen and Muralikrishnan Dhanesekaran. 2013. Anti-oxidative and DNA Protecting Effects of Flavonoids-rich Scutellaria lateriflora. Natural Products Communications 8: 1-4
  • Shiwakoti, Santosh, Dennis A. Shannon, C. Wesley Wood, Kathy S. Lawrence, Barbara Kemppainen, Nirmal Joshee, Agnes Rimando. 2013. Harvesting Number and Timing Effects on Shoot Yield and Flavonoid Content in Organically Grown American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). J. Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants. 19:3, 248-261
  • Similien, Arsene, Dennis A. Shannon, C.Wesley Wood, Edzard van Santen, Nirmal Joshee, Wheeler G. Foshee. 2012. Partial Shade, Irrigation and Added Nutrients Maximize Dry Matter Yield of American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.). HortScience 47(12):1705–1709.
  • Mulvaney, M.J., C.W. Wood, K.S. Balkcom, D.A. Shannon, and J.M Kemble. 2010. Carbon and nitrogen mineralization and persistence of organic residues under conservation and conventional tillage. Agronomy Journal 102(5):1425-1433.
  • Dolisca, F., McDaniel J.M., Shannon D.A., Jolly C.M. 2009. A multilevel analysis of the determinants of forest conservation behavior among farm households: A Case Study from Haiti. Society and Natural Resources 22(5): 1-15.
  • Jolly, C. M., A. Binns, D. Shannon, M. Bannister, J. Dale, and P. Lindo. 2009. “Farmers failure to participate in a soil conservation project in Haiti. Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Agriculture and Natural Resource Conservation and Management”. Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Restoration (5) 2000-2010.
  • Dolisca, Frito, Joshua M. McDaniel, Dennis A. Shannon and Curtis M. Jolly. 2008. Modeling farm households for estimating the efficiency of policy instruments on sustainable land use in Haiti. Land Use Policy 26: 130-138. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.01.007
  • Kabaluapa, N.K., K.H. Yoo, D.A. Shannon, P.S. Kim and C.W. Wood. 2008. Alley cropping effects on surface runoff, soil erosion and loss of plant nutrients. J. Environmental Hydrology 16: Paper 10, pages 1-15
  • Kang, H., D.A. Shannon, S.A. Prior and F.J. Arriaga. 2008. Hedgerow pruning effects on light interception, water relations and yield in alley-cropped maize. J. Sustainable Agriculture 31 (4) 115-137.
  • Jolly, Curtis M., Dennis Shannon, Michael Bannister, Gardy Fleurantin, John Dale ‘Zach’ Lea, Alvin Bins, and Pauline Lindo. 2007. Income efficiency of soil conservation techniques in Haiti. J. Environmental Monitoring & Restoration 3: 1-9.
  • Bayard, B., C.M. Jolly and D.A. Shannon. 2007. The economics of adoption and management of alley cropping in Haiti. J. Environmental Management 84: 62 – 70.
  • Parajuli, P.B., K.H. Yoo, D.A. Shannon and W.J. Jeon. 2007. Application of WEPP and AGNPS to a cattle grazing pasture with poultry litter application as a fertilizer. J. Environmental Hydrology 15: 1-12.
  • Bayard, B. C.M. Jolly and Dennis A. Shannon. 2006. Adoption and management of soil conservation practices in Haiti: The case of rock walls. Agricultural Economics Review 7 (2): 28 – 39.
  • Dolisca, F., D.R. Carter, J.M. McDaniel, D.A. Shannon and C.M. Jolly. 2006. Factors influencing farmers’ participation in forestry management programs: a case study from Haiti. Forest Ecology and Management 236: 324-331.
  • Bayard, B., C.M. Jolly, D.A. Shannon and A.A. Lazarte. 2006. Low-income farmers’ behavior toward land degradation: the effects of perceptions, awareness, attitude and land use. International J. Ecological Economics & Statistics 6: 64-89.
  • Bossa, J.R., D.A. Shannon, J.F. Adams, G.L. Mullins and E. van Santen. 2005. Phosphorus, potassium and leucaena pruning interactions on corn in Haiti. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 73: 37-47.
  • Bossa, J.R., J.F. Adams, D.A. Shannon and G.L. Mullins. 2005. Phosphorus and potassium release from leucaena leaves in three environments in Haiti. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 73: 25-35.
  • Isaac, L., C.W. Wood, and D.A. Shannon. 2004. Hedgerow pruning management effects on maize yield and nitrogen uptake in alley cropping. Agronomy Journal 96: 1632-1640.
  • Bayard, B., C.M. Jolly, N.L. Wilson and D.A. Shannon. 2003. Management of soil conservation practices in Haiti: a comparative analysis of alley cropping and rock walls. Farm & Business: The Journal of the Caribbean Agro-Economy Society 6 (1): 21-35.
  • Isaac, L., C.W. Wood and D.A. Shannon. 2003. Pruning management effects on soil carbon and nitrogen in contour-hedgerow cropping with Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) De Wit on sloping land in Haiti. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 65:253-263.
  • Isaac, L., C.W. Wood and D.A. Shannon. 2003. Hedgerow species and environmental conditions effects on soil total C and N and C and N mineralization patterns of soils amended with their prunings. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 65: 73-87.
  • Isaac, L., C.W. Wood and D.A. Shannon. 2000. Decomposition and nitrogen release of prunings from hedgerow species assessed for alley cropping in Haiti. Agronomy J. 92: 501-511.
  • Shannon, D.A., L. Isaac and F.E. Brockman. 1997. Assessment of hedgerow species for seed size, stand establishment and seedling height. Agroforestry Systems 35: 95 – 110.
  • Shannon, D.A., K.M Mwamba, M. Kubengu and M.C. Mpoy. 1995. Adoption of soybean: a comparative analysis of cultural practices in Zaire and Nigeria. J. of Farming Systems Research-Extension 5: 39-54.
  • Shannon, D.A. and K.M. Mwamba. 1994. Adoption of soybean in sub-Saharan Africa: a comparative analysis of production and utilization in Zaire and Nigeria. Agricultural Systems 46: 369-384.
  • Shannon, D.A., W.O. Vogel and K.N. Kabaluapa. 1994. The effects of alley cropping and fertilizer application on continuously-cropped maize. Tropical Agriculture 71: 163-169.
  • Shannon, D.A., E.A. Kueneman, M.J. Wright and C.W. Wood. 1992. Subsoil texture effects on growth of soybean in the Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 23: 345-362.
  • Shannon, D.A., E.A. Kueneman, M.J. Wright and C.W. Wood. 1992. Fertilization effects on soybean growth and yield in the Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria. J Plant Nutrition 15 (5): 639-658.
  • Selected major reports:
  • Shannon, Dennis A. 2013. Independent Assessment of Specific Components of the Feed the Future West/WINNER Project. Consultant report submitted to USAID/Haiti. 63 pp.
  • McVey, Marty, Elsa Murano and Dennis A. Shannon. 2013. Review and Recommendations on Rebuilding Food Security and Agricultural Industries of The Republic of Haiti. Haiti Task Force, Board for International Food and Agricultural Development ,US Agency for International Development. 15 pp.
  • Murano, Elsa A., Dennis A. Shannon, Walter Bowen, Henry Bahn, Kerry Bolognese, Susan Owens, John Becker. 2010. A New Paradigm for the Successful Reconstruction of Haiti’s Food and Agricultural Sector: Recommendations to the USAID Administrator. BIFAD Task Force on Haiti Reconstruction. Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. 23 pp.
  • Shannon, D.A. and Budry Bayard. 2010. Assessment of Fertilizer Availability and Use in Haiti. Report submitted to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) 31 pp. (Major portions of report incorporated into Seed System Security Assessment: Haiti by Louise Sperling (2010). US Agency for International Development / Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. August 2010.)
  • Isaac, L., D.A. Shannon, C.W. Wood and C.R. Bernard. 2006. Promising tree species as hedgerows for alley cropping in different environments in Haiti. United States Agency for International Development, Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program, Auburn University Technical Bulletin 2006-1. 29 pp.
  • Bayard, B., C.M. Jolly and D. Shannon. 2004. Adoption of Rock Walls as a Soil Conservation Structure in Haiti. United States Agency for International Development, Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program, Auburn University Technical Bulletin 2004-01. 19 pp.
  • Bayard, B., C.M. Jolly and D. Shannon. 2004. Adoption and Management of Alley Cropping in Haiti. United States Agency for International Development, Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program, Auburn University Technical Bulletin 2004-02. 19 pp.
  • Guthrie, R.L. and D.A. Shannon. 2004. Soil Profile Descriptions for Steepland Research Sites in Haiti. United States Agency for International Development, Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program, Auburn University Technical Bulletin 2004-01. 24 pp.
  • Shannon, D.A., L. Isaac, C.R. Bernard and C.W. Wood. 2003. Long-term effects of soil conservation barriers on crop yield on a tropical steepland in Haiti. United States Agency for International Development, Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program and Auburn University Technical Bulletin No. 2003-01. 40 pp.
  • Shannon, D.A. 2002. Agroforestry/Cropping Systems, Haiti. In Soil Management Practices for Sustainable Production on Densely Populated Tropical Steeplands.(1997-2002) Final Technical Report. Soil Management Collaborative Research Support Program. Texas A&M University, for USAID/Washington.
  • Shannon, D.A., J.D. (Zach) Lea, L. Isaac and S. Belfort. 2001. Technical Assistance to the PLUS Project: Final Report of the South-East Consortium for International Development (SECID) and Auburn University. South-East Consortium for International Development. 125 pp.