Auburn University celebrates National Forest Products Week, Oct. 16 – 22


ForestryIconWorking Forests, Forest Products Vital to Alabama’s Economy, Rural Jobs, Environment

There’s no better time than National Forest Products Week to recognize our private working forests and forest products industry in Alabama as part of the American success story.  More than 94 percent of the 23.0 million acres of Alabama’s timberland is privately owned. These working forests improve the quality of our lives and are the cultural and economic foundation in rural communities throughout our state, providing wood for thousands of products that make our lives comfortable, secure and beautiful. They contribute to more than 42,000 jobs and a $14.8 billion boost to our state’s economy, plus they help clean our air and drinking water, and provide fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreational opportunities, and provide the products that can lessen the environmental burdens associated with the building sector.

But our forests don’t take care of themselves. These forests are planted and replanted to produce the raw materials for products we use every day—and, increasingly, as a source of energy. Because forest owners make long-term commitments to managing their foress sustainably and are careful each year to harvest only a small portion of the trees they grow to maintain an abundance of trees, the volume of growing trees in the U.S. has grown by 50 percent since the 1950s. Today, those trees help to offset 13 percent of total CO2 emissions annually. Specifically, in the state of Alabama, the annual growth typically exceeds harvest by 5% making Alabama competitive on a global scale.

More attention is being paid than ever before to how buildings impact the environment, including the choices of materials used in construction. Wood is the perfect green building material because it is renewable, stores carbon that reduces greenhouse gases, and is energy efficient.

Wood products continue to store the carbon absorbed by the trees during their growth cycle, keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely. Using wood in place of fossil fuel-intensive materials also “avoids” greenhouse gases that would have been emitted during manufacturing. Now, it is possible to quantify these benefits for wood buildings through third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations, which provide critical information including product composition, life-cycle environmental impacts, water and energy usage, and more.

Our forests are thriving in Alabama and around the country because the more wood we use, the more trees we grow. But the growth of our forests is contingent on strong markets for forest products—thousands of them from the framing of our homes, paper we use in communications, packaging for our goods, and tissue products for our hygiene, along with many others such as even the screens on our cell phones. With strong markets for wood products, forest owners re-invest the money from harvesting trees to planting more trees and keeping their forests healthy while protecting them from fire, insects and disease.

Alabama makes a valuable contribution to the nation-wide forest product industry. As a whole, these companies account for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, and manufacture over $200 billion in products annually. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.

A healthy and vital forestry economy is essential to Alabama and the nation. We should expect federal policy to support an industry that helps our economy and our environment.

More information about Alabama’s working forests and the forestry industry, is available within the Alabama Forestry Commission 2015 Forest Resource Report, found at

Auburn President, Jay Gogue, announces retirement

9981072-largeAuburn University President, Jay Gogue, announced his retirement at the September Board of Trustees meeting.

“Susie and I have had a blast at Auburn the past 10 years,” said Gogue. “We’re not going anywhere, but we decided it’s time to step down as president next year and begin the next phase of our lives.”

Gogue, who has been Auburn’s leader since 2007, is expected to remain as president until his successor is named, sometime in 2017.

Charles McCrary, president pro tem of the board, appointed Trustee Raymond Harbert to chair the search committee. Harbert asked Trustees Michael DeMaioribus and Sarah Newton to serve with him. The committee will utilize the services of R. William Funk & Associates, a higher education search firm out of Dallas, Texas.

In addition to Harbert, the Auburn presidential search advisory committee is composed of the following:

  • Beau Byrd II; president-elect, Auburn Alumni Association
  • Mike DeMaioribus, member, Auburn Board of Trustees
  • Deacue Fields; chair and professor, Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Thom Gossom; chair, Auburn University Foundation
  • Sharon Haynes; county coordinator, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
  • Rhea Ingram; dean, College of Business at Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Timothy Jones; chair, Auburn Administrative & Professional Assembly
  • Sarah B. Newton; member, Auburn Board of Trustees
  • Laura Plexico; associate professor, Department of Communication Disorders
  • Chris Roberts; dean, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
  • Althea Tate; chair, Auburn Staff Council
  • Larry Teeter; professor, School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
  • Jesse Westerhouse; president, Student Government Association

Future updates regarding the search will be featured at




SFWS graduate student Megan Bartholomew receives top presentation award at the Alabama Water Resources Conference


Bartholomew (center) pictured with Eve Brantley, Auburn associate professor, Extension specialist and AUWRC treasurer, on left, and fellow Forestry and Wildlife Sciences graduate student, Rasika Ramesh, to the right at the Alabama Water Resources Conference in Gulf Shores, Ala.

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences natural resources Master’s student, Megan Bartholomew (Maj. Prof, Christopher Anderson), was recently selected as 1st place student presentation winner for her oral presentation, Long term vegetation response to hydrologic recovery in isolated wetlands, at the 2016 Alabama Water Resources Conference, held in Gulf Shores, Ala., Sept. 8-9.

Established in 1986, the Auburn University Water Resources Center conference provides a forum for showcasing emerging research, education and outreach in all aspects of water resources.

For student presenters, conferences are a great way to share their work and receive unique feedback and ideas from scholars, industry, and stakeholders.

“Conferences are always exciting to participate in and the Alabama Water Resources Conference was no exception,” stated Bartholomew. “I always return invigorated with new ideas and energy from the work presented.’

Bartholomew expects the results from the study will help natural resource managers develop reliable and science based wetland restoration milestones, establish more appropriate restoration timelines, and accurately determine when a restoration project has reached completion.

Student oral presentations were judged on several criteria, including presenter’s knowledge, logic, and understandability of the subject presented, significance and originality of material presented, effective use of audio-visual materials, presentation style and effectiveness as communicator, and quality of responses to questions.

For more information about the Auburn University Water Resources Center conference, visit





SFWS Professor, Lisa Samuelson, to be honored by the USDA- National Institute of Food and Agriculture with Partnership Award

20150922, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Faculty & Staff Headshots

Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Alumni Professor & Dwain G. Luce Professor of Forestry, Lisa Samuelson, has been selected as part of a multi-university and agency research consortium, the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP), to receive the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Partnership Award.

The NIFA Partnership Award recognizes outstanding contributions of land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations. The PINEMAP Team has been selected to receive the NIFA Partnership Award for mission integration of research, education, or extension.

PINEMAP integrates research, extension, and education to enable southern pine landowners to manage forests to increase carbon sequestration; increase efficiency of nitrogen and other fertilizer inputs; and adapt forest management approaches to increase forest resilience and sustainability under variable climates.

PINEMAP collaborators include 10 universities (Alcorn State, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Virginia State and Virginia Tech), eight forest-science research cooperatives (or “co-ops”), and the U.S. Forest Service.

The University of Florida-based consortium, established in 2011, includes 59 principal investigators, 27 research and technical staff, 10 postdoctoral associates and 64 graduate students.  Samuelson serves on the team’s executive committee.

PINEMAP is recognized for its work to assess the impacts of climate change to the planted pine industry, one of the most economically and environmentally important crops in the Southeastern U.S., with 20 million acres under cultivation.

The team will be recognized at the annual NIFA Day of Appreciation scheduled for Thursday, October 6, 2016, at the NIFA awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

For more information about PINEMAP, visit

Research Associate, Tom Stokes, selected to receive Auburn University’s Spirit of Excellence Award for September

stokesSchool of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) Research Associate IV, Tom Stokes, has been selected to receive Auburn University’s Spirit of Excellence Award for September.

The Spirit of Excellence Award was established to recognize a special group of employees for their service to Auburn University.

Eligible recipients must be a regular Auburn University employee, with the exception of research associates, have at least one year continuous employment, and have a performance evaluation rating that meets or exceeds expectations at the time of their nomination.

Stokes was nominated by his supervisor, SFWS Alumni Professor & Dwain G. Luce Professor of Forestry, Lisa Samuelson, in recognition of his outstanding work on a 5-year research project that involved intensive field data collection in remote forested areas.

A paper titled, “Ecosystem carbon density and allocation across a chronosequence of longleaf pine forests in the southeastern USA,” based on results from the project, was just accepted for publication in the journal, Ecological Applications.

“His leadership on this project was critical to meeting difficult deadlines and achieving success,” stated Samuelson. “His performance enhanced the image of SFWS with the U.S. Department of Defense who funded the $2 million project.”

As a recipient, Stokes will be eligible to receive the Employee of the Year, Spirit of Excellence Award. Winners will be announced and recognized at the annual Employee Recognition Award ceremony, held in the spring of each year.



SFWS Faculty Participates in the Auburn University This is Research Faculty Symposium


Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences faculty participated in the Auburn University This is Research Faculty Symposium, A Showcase of Research and Creative Scholarship, held September 16 at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

SFWS Associate Professor of Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Chris Lepczyk, gave a talk entitled, Conserving Wildlife in a Human Dominated World, during the Auburn Talks Presentations. Other faculty presenting research during the poster sessions included:

• Sarah Zohdy, Malaria in Madagascar: Intergrative Ecohealth Approaches to Disease Surveillance
• Christopher Anderson, Changing Wetland Functions Across Human Dominated Landscapes
• Robert Gitzen, Dig Me Out, Dig Me In: Ecology and Conservation of a Southeast Endemic Mammal
• Lori Eckhardt and Brian Via, Acoustic Stiffness Characterization of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Families used for Improved Forest Health
• Brian Via and Lori Eckhardt, Response of Different Mature Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.), Families to Leptographium terebrantis and Grosmannia huntii

As part of Auburn University’s research mission, the annual faculty symposium was created to promote connections among researchers and creative scholars and to increase the visibility of their work across diverse audiences.




International Paper hosts gathering of Auburn alumni during recent meeting

ipforestrygradsInternational Paper (IP), a leading manufacturing company of renewable and recyclable packaging materials, recently hosted an employee meeting at their corporate office in Memphis, TN, where Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences graduates posed for a photo.

Shown in the photo provided by IP Regional Manager and AU graduate, David Helm are from left to right: Matt Meyerpeter, David Hand, Michael Walker, David Helm, Sarah Sibley, Jake Smith, Joe Twardy, Ted Crane. Other SFWS graduates missing from the photo include Ricky Everett, Grace Gregson, Wesley Peters, and Jenny Lightfoot, among others.

International Paper employs approximately 53,000 people worldwide and operates in more than 24 countries. Careers with IP include finance, manufacturing, supply chain, and information technology.

IP routinely hires Auburn graduates as fiber supply managers to facilitate the movement of lumber to its manufacturing facilities; many of whom are based in Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.

Students interested in internships and careers with IP can visit and interview with company representatives during the SFWS Career Fair scheduled on Nov. 30.

For more information about Auburn’s forestry degrees, visit



SFWS connects with alumni during Alabama Forestry Association annual meeting


SFWS Development Director and Dean hosted nearly 40 alumni & friends for the alumni coffee during the Alabama Forestry Association’s annual meeting held in Gulf Shores, Ala. On Sept. 12. This was a great opportunity for the SFWS to provide updates about undergraduate and graduate enrollments, new faculty and staff hires, approval of Geospatial and Environmental Informatics degree, the status of Sustainable Bioproducts and Packaging degree proposal, and the new budget model implications to the school.











SFWS hosted Auburn Oaks at Samford Park Dedication on Sept. 9


Shown with Dean Alavalapati and Aubie are the generous donors who honored their families through their philanthropic gifts in support of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Shown with Dean Alavalapati and Aubie are the generous donors who honored their families with the naming of the Auburn Oaks at Samford Park.

Representatives from the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences gathered with Auburn administration and donors for a dedication ceremony of the Auburn Oaks at Samford Park on Friday, Sept. 9.

The ceremony culminated with the unveiling of the trees named in honor of loved ones by Auburn friends and alumni who named a tree for themselves or someone of their choosing in recognition of a $50,000 philanthropic gift to the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Following the dedication, special guests and donors, including Auburn University Provost, Tim Boosinger and his wife Marcia, enjoyed a dinner and reception at the SFWS EBSCO atrium following the dedication.

The Samford Park redevelopment project began in 2013 after it was determined the original Auburn Oaks, poisoned in 2011, would not survive. Phase I of the project included removing contaminated soil, building a new seating area and planting two new oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Phase II began in the summer of 2015 with installation of a 14-foot-wide walkway winding from Samford Hall to Toomer’s Corner.

“Over the past three years Toomer’s Corner and Samford Park have changed tremendously,” said Ben Burmester, design project manager for Samford Park at Toomer’s Corner Phases I and II, “so to see the vision of the park come together today is pretty great.”

The descendent oaks are approximately 15 years old and 15 feet tall. In 2001, Scott Enebak, SFWS faculty member, initiated a program to ensure the Auburn Oaks’ legacy continues. Under his leadership, Forestry Club and Wildlife Society members cultivated acorns from the original trees and raised the descendants.

“I am pleased to see the descendants are returning to Samford Park where their parents stood for over 80 years,” Enebak said. “As they grow, their branches will drape over the walkway creating a beautiful canopy for future generations of the Auburn Family to enjoy.”

The remaining trees are available for naming in recognition of a philanthropic pledge of $50,000, which can be pledged over multiple years. These gifts will be invested as part of a larger endowed fund for excellence, with earnings providing support for emerging opportunities and urgent needs in the school. Following approval of each requested naming by Auburn’s Board of Trustees, an engraved brass plaque on a granite plinth at the base of the tree will display the name or names of those for which the tree is named.

For additional information about this naming opportunity, contact the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Development Office at (334) 844-2791 or









School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Research Team Partners with Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine

Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine cover story, Are Bucks Patterning You? Exclusive Research from Auburn UniversityAuburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences’ Wildlife Professor, Stephen Ditchkoff, has launched a partnership with Deer & Deer Hunting magazine to provide deer enthusiasts with cutting-edge insights on white-tailed deer research, behavior and biology.

The arrangement will require the Deer Lab research team to produce print articles and blog/social media posts, as well as featured television segments for the media group’s three cable programs. The magazine’s Facebook page boasts 633,924 followers. Within their media kit they advertise a readership of 200,000 for the magazine, 250,000 monthly visitors to its website, and 280,000 cumulative viewers of its various TV programs.

The goal of the partnership is to promote SFWS deer research, educate media consumers, and garner attention that will translate to research funding for the “Deer Lab.” States Ditchkoff, “We are very excited to have this opportunity to share our research with D&DH readers. Our hope is that we are able to give them a better understanding of white-tailed deer behavior that will ultimately make them more successful in their hunting and management efforts.”

Founded in 1977, Deer & Deer Hunting was America’s first whitetail-only publication. The TV show is entering its 12th season, and airs on Sportsman Channel.

Learn more at







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