The board, which will grow to 20 or more over the next year, will inform and evaluate American Forests’ forest restoration work and public policy initiatives, including helping develop new programs and projects.
“We are deeply committed to employing sound science in our forest protection and restoration work,” says Scott Steen, American Forests CEO. “The Science Advisory Board ensures that both our board of directors and staff have access to some of the best thinking in the world from a wide variety of forest-related disciplines, including ecology, genetics, hydrology, evolutionary biology, urban forestry, fire and more.”
The American Forests Science Advisory Board members represent a diversity of fields, geographic areas and work experience to help address the myriad of issues facing America’s rural and urban forests. Board members will serve for a minimum of three years, contributing to American Forests’ programs, publications and policy. The nine members of the inaugural board are:
Dr. Diana F. Tomback
Dr. Diana F. Tomback is a professor (and acting chair) of integrative biology at the University of Colorado, Denver. Her expertise includes evolutionary ecology with application to forest ecology and conservation biology.
Dr. Tomback is best known for her studies of the coevolved, mutualistic interaction between Clark’s nutcracker, a bird of high mountain forests, and several white pine species, particularly whitebark pine, leading to her election in 1994 as fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union. She was the lead organizer and editor of the book Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration, published by Island Press in 2001. This work has grown in significance, with the recent status review of whitebark pine under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2001, Tomback and several colleagues started the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit based in Missoula, Montana. The WPEF is dedicated to the restoration of whitebark pine ecosystems and educating the public and resource management agencies about the importance of this pine. She has served as volunteer director of this organization since its inception.
Dr. Tomback received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from UCLA and her doctorate in biological sciences from University of California Santa Barbara.
Dr. Mark S. Ashton
Dr. Mark S. Ashton is the Morris K. Jesup professor of silviculture and forest ecology and director of school forests at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dr. Ashton conducts research on the biological and physical processes governing the regeneration of natural forests and on the creation of their agroforestry analogs. In particular, he seeks a better understanding of regeneration establishment among assemblages of closely related trees.
His long-term research concentrates on tropical and temperate forests of the Asian and American realms. Field sites include tropical forests in Sri Lanka and Panama, temperate forests in India and New England, and boreal forests in Saskatchewan, Canada. Findings from these studies have theoretical implications for understanding the maintenance of a diversity of tree species in forested ecosystems and the adaptability of forests to change in climate. The results of his research have been applied to the development and testing of silvicultural techniques for restoration of degraded lands and for the management of natural forests for a variety of timber and non-timber products.
Dr. Ashton received a bachelor’s degree from University of Maine’s College of Forest Resources and a master’s degree in forestry and a doctorate from Yale University.
Dr. Cecilia Danks
Dr. Cecilia Danks is an associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources/Environmental Program.
Dr. Danks’ research examines the institutional arrangements in natural resource management — especially innovations in collaborative governance, ownership, markets and multi-sector partnerships — that may contribute to social and ecological sustainability. Much of her work focuses on community-based forestry, particularly the relative roles of nonprofit organizations, government agencies and policies, and small-scale participants in market-based initiatives. She has contributed to the development of forest certification standards and served on the board of the Forest Stewardship Council in the U.S.
In recent years, her work has focused on climate change and rural communities, studying the factors which affect the ability of small-scale and community-based forestry efforts to access carbon markets and the development of sustainable, community-based wood biomass energy. She currently leads the Forest Carbon and Communities Research Group based at the University of Vermont.
Dr. Danks received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Williams College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree and doctorate in wildland resource science from University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Robert Keane
Dr. Robert “Bob” Keane is a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. He is also deputy manager of the Fire, Fuel and Smoke Science Program and director of the Fire Modeling Institute. His areas of expertise are landscape and ecosystem modeling, whitebark pine restoration, wildland fuel science, fuel mapping, fire hazard and risk analysis, fire ecology and fire regimes. He serves as a board member of the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation.
Dr. Keane received a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering from University of Maine, Orono; master’s degree in forest ecology from University of Montana, Missoula; and a doctorate in forest ecology from University of Idaho, Moscow.
Dr. James Kielbaso
Dr. James Kielbaso retired in 2004 as professor emeritus in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University. He taught arboriculture and urban forestry courses among many others at Michigan State for 38 years. He also conducted research on topics such as improving compacted soils for tree planting, the status of street trees nationally, management practices of U.S. urban foresters, herbicide use by U.S. utilities and social attitudes toward neighborhood trees.
Dr. Kielbaso has served on the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, the International Society of Arboriculture’s Board of Directors and the Michigan Forestry and Park Association’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Kielbaso received a bachelor’s degree from University of Dayton and master’s degree and doctorate in forestry from Michigan State University.
Dr. Jonathan Kusel
Dr. Jonathan Kusel founded and has for 18 years directed the nonprofit Sierra Institute for Community and Environment in Taylorsville, California. He left academia to found the Institute, which focuses on the human-natural resource interaction focusing on research, education and project implementation.
Dr. Kusel participated on the Clinton administration’s Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team; participated on the core team and led the community assessment team and public participation team for the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project; and recently led a national assessment of the Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act, which contributed to refinement and passage of new legislation. He has launched watershed groups and is currently involved in establishing watershed-based pilot ecosystem service assessments. He recently completed assessments that helped launch the Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest and Watershed Group and is currently working with groups to advance the use of biomass to restore forests and local resource economies.
Dr. Kusel received a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, a master’s degree in forest science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a doctorate in natural resource sociology and policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Robert D. Mangold
Dr. Robert D. Mangold has been director of Forest Health Protection for the USDA Forest Service in Washington, D.C., since 2000. Prior to that, he served as the acting deputy director of the Forest Health Protection staff in State and Private Forestry and as the National Forest Health Monitoring program manager. He also worked on the Cooperative Forestry staff in Washington as the national nurseries and tree improvement manager.
Dr. Mangold began his career with the Forest Service in 1988 at Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, where he worked as a geneticist at the Dorena Tree Improvement Center. He also worked in private industry for six years as a tree breeder with Crown Zellerbach Corporation.
Dr. Mangold received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in forest genetics from Oregon State University.
Dr. Greg McPherson
Dr. Greg McPherson is a research forester with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station located in Davis, California. He grew up under a canopy of American elm trees in Howell, Michigan. Despite attempts to save the trees, all were lost to Dutch elm disease. Having felt the sting of that loss, he became a “green” accountant, developing new methods and tools for quantifying the value of nature’s benefits from city trees.
Dr. McPherson works with a team of three other scientists who measure and model the effects of trees on energy use, urban heat islands, air pollutant uptake, carbon sequestration and rainfall interception. Their research is helping justify investments in urban forest planning and management.
In 2000, Dr. McPherson received the International Society of Arboriculture’s L.C. Chadwick Award for Research. He chaired the ISA Science and Research Committee and serves on the California Urban Forest Council’s Policy Advisory Committee.
Dr. McPherson received a bachelor’s degree of general studies from University of Michigan, a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Utah State University and a doctorate in forestry from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Dr. David J. Nowak
Dr. David J. Nowak is a project leader with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in Syracuse, New York. His research investigates urban forest structure, health and change and its effect on air quality and greenhouse gases. He also leads teams developing software tools to quantify ecosystem services from urban vegetation (e.g. UFORE and i-Tree programs).
Dr. Nowak has authored more than 200 publications and was a contributing member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has also received several nation awards, including National Arbor Day Foundation’s highest honor, the J. Sterling Morton Award, which recognizes lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at a national or international level; R.W. Harris Author’s Citation from the International Society of Arboriculture, which is granted to authors of outstanding publications for sustained excellence in the publication of timely information pertaining to the field of arboriculture; and American Forests’ Urban Forest Medal recognizing outstanding national contributions in urban forest research.
Dr. Nowak received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a doctorate from University of California, Berkeley.