Chad Oliver Honored For Contributions to Forest Science

Yale’s Chad Oliver Honored For Contributions to Forest Science (By Kevin Dennehy)

Yale Professor Chadwick Dearing “Chad” Oliver will be awarded the prestigious Host Country Scientific Achievement Award from the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO), the largest global network of forest researchers, during its World Congress in Salt Lake City in October.

He is one of three recipients of the award, which recognizes outstanding career achievements by scientists from the nation hosting the event. The last World Congress hosted by the U.S. was held in 1971.

Oliver, the Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), is being honored for contributions to silviculture, forest ecology, and sustainable resource management.

According to U.S. Forest Service, which is hosting the World Congress, Oliver’s work has deepened the scientific understanding of basic biophysical processes of forest dynamics and the interactions of human societies and forests at multiple scales.

“There are so many excellent forest scientists that I am extremely honored to have been chosen for this award,” said Oliver. “I thank the people who nominated me and my family, friends, and teachers — from the Camden [South Carolina] public schools, The University of the South, Yale University, and The Harvard Forest.

“I have also been fortunate to work with a lot of stimulating forestry professionals, scientists, and students. We would identify a practical problem and set about solving it — changing scientific theory and/or forestry practices as necessary. We would ignore physical hardships, political boundaries, and scientific fads and simply focus on the problem and its solution.”

Oliver, whose early work focused on the basic understanding of how forest stands develop and can be managed silviculturally, has expanded his research to explore how this understanding can help resolve scientific, technical, environmental, and management issues at the landscape and global levels.

His Landscape Management System — a downloadable, computer-based tool for managing timber resources, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and fire protection — has been used widely to analyze and visualize the effects of disturbances and management on landscapes.

“This richly deserved honor recognizes Chad Oliver as one of the preeminent forestry scientists of his generation,” said Peter Crane, Dean of F&ES. “During his career, he has helped us better understand how forests develop, at multiple scales and in all parts of the world, and how they can be more sustainably managed.”

Other recipients of the Host Country Scientific Achievement Award this year are Harold Burkhart of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles.

During the World Congress, Yale F&ES Professor Benjamin Cashore will receive IUFRO’s Scientific Achievement Award for his work related to the governance of forest resources worldwide.

The World Congress is held every four to five years in different countries worldwide. Forest scientists from throughout the world will present scientific and technical issues related to priority areas of forest research, policy, and management. This year’s event, which is being held from Oct. 5 to 11, is expected to draw 2,500 forest scientists from 100 nations.

IUFRO is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of 700 research organizations with over 15,000 forest scientists. Founded in 1892, it is the largest global network promoting global cooperation in forest-related research to deepen the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees and how they benefit societies.