AFE Award Winners


Lifetime Achievement Award Winners for the 2012 Fire Congress: (left to right)  Brian Oswald (AFE Board President), Bill Patterson, Jan van Wagtendonk, David Engle


Stoddard Award – Lane Green


Wright Award - Dr. David M. Engle Biswell Award – Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk (Fire Ecology Articles) Stoddard Award – Dr. William Patterson


Biswell Award – Dr. Steve Bunting


Stoddard Award – Dr. Bill Boyer Biswell Award – Dr. James K. Agee (Fire Ecology articles)


Stoddard Award – Dr. Alan J. Long Biswell Award – Dr. Leon Neuenschwander


Stoddard Award – Dr. Edward R. Buckner Biswell Award – Robert W. Mutch


Stoddard Award – Dr. David H. Van Lear Biswell Award – Dr. Bruce M. Kilgore


Biswell Award – Dr. Stephen F. Arno


Stoddard  Award – Dale D. Wade (Fire Ecology articles) Biswell Award – Dr. Robert E. Martin

AFE Award Winners Bios

Lane Green, 2013 Stoddard Award

lane greenLane Green has been Executive Director of Tall Timbers since 1991.  He actively and aggressively promotes public awareness of the benefits of Prescribed Fire through helping form Fire Councils in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and is a founding member of the Scoping Group for the Coalition of Fire Councils.  He has directed and participated in two successful statewide public awareness campaigns in Florida in 1999 and 2004. He has appeared in public service announcement videos in Florida and Southwest Georgia.

Lane also recently served a 7-year term as Governor and FWC Appointee to the Florida Acquisition and Restoration Council that recommends conservation land purchases to the Governor and Cabinet. In addition, he coordinated the 13-Southern States’ One Message Many Voices prescribed fire messaging program in 2009/2010 that continues today with an additional 30 states requesting to participate.

Dr. David M. Engle, 2012 Wright Award

engleDr. David Engle received his BS in Range Science and his MS in Wildlife Biology from Abilene Christian University and his Pd.D. in Range Science from Colorado State.  Since 1983, he has been on the faculty at Oklahoma State University.  Considered a foremost leader in grassland fire ecology in the United States, he has been a productive researcher and publisher, as well as a highly respected teacher.

He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Tall Timber Research Station and helped develop the Great Plains Fire Science Exchange Consortium.  In addition, he has served as a mentor, friend and colleague to many undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members.  In addition to this award, he has received a number of awards from the Society for Range Management.

Dr. William A. Patterson, 2012 Stoddard Award

pattersonDr. Patterson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, began his interest in fire ecology as an undergraduate student at the University of Maine and carried this interest through his graduate work at the University of Minnesota. Bill became acquainted with Ed Komarek at several early Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conferences and visited the Stoddard Fire plots.

This led to his partnership with the National Parks Service and the establishment of his long-term study on the Lombard-Paradise Hollow Fire Management Plots on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Dr. Patterson has many fire-related publications on fire history, fire effects and fire management, and has maintained a strong connection with fire managers in the Northeast.  Dr. Patterson is a true pioneer for fire ecology in the Northeastern United States.

Dr. Jan W. van Wagtendonk, 2012 Biswell Award

janDr. van Wagtendonk grew up in Indiana, where he began his study of forestry at Purdue University.  Summer seasonal work as a smokejumper for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management convinced him to finish his undergraduate work at Oregon State University, where he received his B.S. in Forest Management in 1963.

After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army with the 101st Airborne Division and as an advisor to the Vietnamese army, he entered graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.  There Dr. van Wagtendonk obtained his M.S. in Range Management in 1968 and his Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science with a specialty in fire ecology in 1972.

From 1972 through 1993 he was employed as a research scientist with the National Park Service at Yosemite National Park. From 1994 until he retired in 2008, Dr. van Wagtendonk was employed as a research forester with the U.S. Geological Survey at Yosemite.  His areas of research have included prescriptions for burning in wildland ecosystems, recreational impacts in wilderness, the application of geographic information systems to resources management, and the role of fire in Sierra Nevada ecosystems.  He is featured in this video by the Wildand Fire LLC.  


Dr. van Wagtendonk has written over 100 publications, including book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, and technical reports; and he was a co-editor of the book Fire in California’s Ecosystems.  He has received the National Park Service Director’s Award for Research in Natural resources in 1995, the Forest Service Chief Forester’s Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research Award in 2002, the Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award in 2003, the George Melendez Wright Award from the George Wright Society in 2005, and the National Park Service Director’s Wilderness Stewardship Award in 2006.

He was a member of the 1995 and 2001 Federal Fire Policy Review working groups, served on the California Spotted Owl Federal Advisory Committees and the Joint Fire Science Stakeholders Federal Advisory Committee, and was the USGS representative on the Joint Fire Science Program board of governors. He is a founding member of the Association for Fire Ecology, served as its president for three years, and is now an editor for Fire Ecology, the journal of the Association. After retirement, Dr. van Wagtendonk has continued to write about fire and wilderness in the Sierra Nevada.

Dr. Steve Bunting, 2011 Biswell Award

The 2011 Biswell Award was presented to Dr. Steve Bunting of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho on November 16, 2011 at the Great Basin Fire ecology Conference in Snowbird, Utah. A faculty member at Idaho since 1978, he has supervised over 27 graduate students on a wide variety of research topics, often centered on fire ecology within the Great Basin region. The holder of the UI Heady Professorship of Rangeland Ecology from 1997-2002, he has also been recognized by the Society for Range Management with the Idaho section Outstanding Achievement award (1999) and the W.R. Chapline Research Award in 2000.

In addition, Dr. Bunting was presented the Phi Kappa Phi Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award in 1999 and received the University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence in 1993. Dr. Bunting is the second faculty member from the College of Natural Resources to receive this award, as Dr. Leon Neuenschwander was honored as such in 2007. Others who have received the Biswell award include Dr. Robert Martin, Dr. Stephen Arno, Dr. Bruce Kilgore and Dr. Robert Mutch.

Dr. James K. Agee, 2009 Biswell Award

James K. Agee was 2009's Harold Biswell award winner

As one of only three PhD. students of Dr. Biswell’s that specialized in fire ecology, Dr. James K. Agee epitomizes the ideals established by his major professor: professionalism, patience, and above all, a sense of humor. Over a career that spanned four decades, Jim taught fire ecology at the University of California, Berkeley, developed fire management programs for the National Park Service, and became the regional expert on fire ecology in the Pacific Northwest while a professor at the University of Washington.

During his tenure at the University of Washington and continuing in his emeritus status, he has chaired or advised well over 50 graduate students, including many of the professional fire ecologists in the Pacific Northwest. He was known as one the best instructors at the University. His knowledge of the fire sciences is vast and he is an excellent lecturer and presenter. Dr. Agee’s research in the fire sciences has been extensive and impressive.

Since 2001 Dr. Agee has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of 17 research grants totaling over 3.7 million US$. Research topics have included: oak fire ecology, estimating crown fire behavior variables, seasonal effects of fire, fire severity, fire and climate change, forest fuel treatment effectiveness, and effects of prescribed fire.


The results of these and other studies have led to significant changes in the way land management agencies carry out forestry and prescribed fire practices. The publications for these projects and many, many others have strongly influenced the thinking and practical application of fire management throughout the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Agee’s book Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests is the definitive source of information for the region and serves as a model for the treatment of fire ecology in other regions.

He has been active in the Association for Fire Ecology, assuming the chair of the very successful AFE conference in Spokane, Washington, in 2003. He is currently serving as editor of Fire Ecology, the Association’s journal. Although Jim retired on October 1, 2007, he will continue to make contributions to the field of fire ecology for years to come.

Dr. Bill Boyer, 2009 Stoddard Award

Dr. Bill Boyer (left) being presented the Herbert Stoddard, Sr Lifetime Achievement Award by Dr. Ron Masters of Tall Timbers

Dr. Bill Boyer has been a leader in promoting prescribed fire use in the Southeastern United States to promote longleaf pine management and restoration for decades.

Bill began his work at the Escambia Experimental Forest near Brewton, Alabama in 1955 as a GS-7 with the then Southern Experiment Station. He completed his PhD. From Duke University in Forest Ecology in 1970 and was assigned to the Forest Service’s research unit associated with Auburn University in Alabama.

His work continued to be centered at Escambia, in the heart of the residual longleaf pine region of the US. As his and others’ research efforts progressed, he soon became a staunch believer in the necessity of frequent fire to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem. During the 1980s, Bill became an advocate for the use of growing season burns at a time that the use of fire was still rejected by many and those that did burn did so only in the dormant season. Throughout his career, he has also advocated for the natural regeneration and the use of fire in the management strategies for longleaf pine.


The author of over 120 publications and an equal number of presentations, Dr. Boyer retired from the Forest Service in 1998, but has continued research as an Emeritus Researcher. He has been awarded a National Honor Award by the Secretary of Agriculture for his research accomplishments, and has been elected as both a Fellow of SAF and to the Alabama Foresters Hall of Fame. He also was awarded the Beadle Fellowship for senior scientists at the Tall Timbers Research Station from 1999 to 2003.

He still continues his work there with longleaf pine cone crop studies and participates on research projects dealing with long-term season of burn and frequency of burn effects. What sets Dr. Boyer apart is that he has made a difference on the land and for the entire ecosystem. His efforts, along with others, have helped to rebuild the once great fire forest historically dominated by longleaf pine. Dr. Boyer has left his professional mark on longleaf pine management and fire ecology in the South that will be hard to replicate.

Dr. Leon Neuenschwander, 2007 Biswell Award

Four Generations of Fire Ecologists. L to R: Micah-John Beierle, Dr. Sandra Rideout-Hanzak, Dr. Brian Oswald, and Dr. Leon Neuenschwander

Dr. Neuenschwander is retired from the faculty in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. His academic background includes B.S. and M.A. degrees from Cal-State, and his Ph.D. was earned in 1976 at Texas Tech University, where he studied under the supervision of the late Dr. Henry Wright. Joining the faculty at Idaho in 1976, he was promoted to Professor in 1986, and also took on administrative positions such as Acting Department Head of Forest Resources, and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.

Dr. Neuenschwander’s teaching responsibilities included undergraduate courses in Fire Management, a Prescribed Burning Lab, and Fire Ecology, a graduate course in Fire Ecology, and a summer course in Wildland Ecology. His publication record is extremely varied, beginning with his work with Dr. Wright in sagebrush and tobosagrass communities, and then later centering on the ecological role and use of fire in the Northern Rockies.


A sampling of his co-authors include the names of Wright, Bunting, Morgan, Saveland, Lotan, Oswald, Peters, Boice, Davenport, Gruell, and Zimmerman.Many of these authors’ studied under Dr. Neuenschwander for graduate degrees, as did Wellner, Evers, and Damen. He spent his professional career not only promoting and studying fire ecology and management, but also training new generations of fire ecologists. His legacy in fire ecology and management is easily seen in the careers and reputations of these individuals.

Through his unique talents, Dr. Neuenschwander took the blind enthusiasm of his students and molded it into a professional framework that has sustained their careers. Dr. Neuenschwander also gave many, many presentations on fire ecology throughout his career, as well as a number of testimonies to the U.S. Congress. He worked tirelessly to promote the use and study of fire across landscapes and management objectives.According to his graduate students, Dr. Neuenschwander was happiest with a torch in his hand. His inquiring mind was always trying to determine why anything was happening, whether during a burn or the resulting impacts from a fire.

Dr. Alan J. Long, 2007 Stoddard Award

2007 long Dr. Alan Long, is Professor of Forest Operations, Fire, and Forestry Extension at the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation. Dr. Long has served the community of fire professionals in the southeastern United States for over 20 years, as an educator, community organization leader, fire use practitioner, and researcher.

Following in Stoddard’s footsteps, Dr. Long has perpetuated the use of prescribed burning in fire-adapted forests for restoration and maintenance, and has used prescribed fire to manage southern forests for over 15 years.

His fire-related activities include original research, extension publications and workshops, leadership in professional societies, and hands-on prescribed fire use.

He has responsibilities in managing the 2400 acre Austin Cary Memorial Forest and the University of Florida’s Natural Areas Teaching Lab forest, where fire is used in a variety of forest types and conditions for demonstration, restoration, teaching, and research purposes.


These locations also serve as venues for the countless Forestry Extension services Dr. Long provides. Examples include pile burning certification courses, and continuing education classes for forestry practitioners across the SE region (fire in the wildland-urban-interface, forest health, dendrology, forest stewardship, agroforestry). Also following in Stoddard’s footsteps, Dr. Long’s extension program focuses on educating non–industrial private forest landowners to manage their forests for long-term sustainability using a combination of fire and silviculture. Dr. Long’s reputation as a devoted, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable educator serving the region’s fire professionals is unparalleled.

He has received countless awards for his professional service in fire and forestry extension, including the Project Administration Award for Excellence from the Southern Extension Forest Resource Specialists, the C. Hux Coulter Award for contributions to the profession of forestry (Society of American Foresters), the Forest Conservationist of the Year Award (Florida Wildlife Federation), and others. In addition, Dr. Long’s success in teaching Fire in Natural Resource Management, a popular undergraduate course at the University, has contributed to his being awarded multiple Teacher of the Year accolades at both the University and School levels.

Based on his research of fire in the South’s wildland-urban-interface (WUI), Dr. Long’s outreach publications and activities have significantly impacted fire management in the southeast. Dr. Long worked with colleagues at the School to design a “Fire Education Toolkit”, which has been distributed to county extension agents, foresters, and local fire and rescue agency staff to use for training workshops. Dr. Long also created a wildfire risk assessment and mitigation guideline booklet, designed for individual homeowners to evaluate their fire risk and fire mitigation options in the WUI. Both of these products have received awards and recognitions, and are used throughout the region.

His current research in WUI fuels flammability and burn properties with the National Institute of Standards and Technology will further supplement this work, and continue to help homeowners make informed decisions about fire risk mitigation in the WUI Dr. Long is an exceptional fire use educator, with a deeply rooted sense of stewardship for the forests of the US, especially those of the southeastern region. He is highly deserving of the Herbert Stoddard Sr. Award from the Association of Fire Ecology, for his multiple decades of service, leadership, and imparted knowledge on the importance of prescribed burning in sustaining ecosystem across the southern region.

Robert W. Mutch, 2006 Biswell Award

Bob Mutch obtained his B.A. degree in Biology and English from Albion College in Michigan in 1956, and received Albion’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004. He received his M.S.F. degree in Fire Science from the University of Montana, 1959. He has been recognized as a national and international leader in fire ecology and fire management for more than forty years. Bob began his career as a smoke jumper and worked for the USFS for 38 years, with his career split between fire research at the Forest Fire Lab in Missoula and fire management operations at both the national forest and regional levels.

During his career he has published over 60 technical and popular articles on wildland fuel flammability, fire behavior, prescribed fire management, wilderness fire management, fire safety, and international disaster assistance. As a researcher, Bob developed an important hypothesis regarding the interaction between wildland fires and ecosystems that was published in Ecology in 1970. Simply stated, he proposed that “fire-dependent plant communities burn more readily than nonfire-dependent communities because natural selection has favored development of characteristics that make them more flammable.” This concept extended the commonly accepted fire climate-fuel moisture basis of wildland fire occurrence to consider inherent flammable properties as well. For over thirty years, Bob’s hypothesis has been discussed, debated, challenged, and modified, but never repudiated.


Bob was among the first to recognize the ecological impacts of excluding fire from forest ecosystems for more than 80 years. He realized that fire is a critical natural process in ecosystems and as a result he played a key role in establishing the USFS’s first prescribed natural fire management program in a wilderness – the 1972 White Cap Fire Management Plan in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Bob helped transfer the results of this pioneering plan to other USFS regions and to the National Park Service and helped lead post-fire studies of the impacts of prescribed natural fires on vegetation and fuels.

Since “retiring” in 1994, Bob has served as an international fire management consultant with the United Nations Forestry and Agricultural Organization and the World Bank. With a German co-author, he prepared a 500-page report for FAO titled A Global Assessment of Forest Fires: 1990-2000 that describes the fire situation throughout the world. Bob also has repeatedly worked on overhead management teams during hot fire seasons. In the summer of 2003 he was recruited to work on the Northwest Montana Area Command. He has become very interested in fire safety and better strategies for protecting human life and property from wildland fire.

Throughout his career, Bob has been involved in communicating the significant ecological role of fire in various ecosystems, with strong emphasis on the western U.S. He did so in ways that help managers and the public to better understand fire’s role and to make good decisions about how to manage fire in forest, brush, and grassland ecosystems. Some of his greatest career contributions have been his extremely effective presentations at workshops, conferences, seminars, university classes, and training centers as well as his involvement in producing public education materials. His passion for fire and communicating to people about it never seem to wane.

Dr. Edward R. Buckner, 2006 Stoddard Award

Dr. Ed Buckner teaching a fire ecology class at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Photo by Dr. Patrick Brose.

Dr. Edward R. Buckner, Professor Emeritus of Forestry, began his career in the wood-processing industry and with the North Carolina Division of Forestry prior to his 41-year career with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In addtion, extended leaves from his academic appointment provided him with experiences in Alaska, Oregon and Montana. Even during the 1970s and 1980s when the role of fire in the environment was not as widely recognized, Dr. Buckner had the foresight to acknowledge fire’s value and importance and to teach about it. Many of today’s aspiring fire ecologists and foresters have heard him lecture on the evolution of forest types in the South and the role of fire his courses or workshops.

Dr. Buckner was instrumental in bringing attention to Table Mountain Pine and its dependence on fire for regeneration. He advocated for implementation of fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in an effort to halt decline of Table Mountain Pine. His efforts, and those of his students, are widely recognized today. In addition, he had a major hand in organizing the benchmark international meeting hosted by the University of Tennessee in 1991 in Knoxville – Fire and the Environment: Ecological and Cultural Perspectives.


Trained as a geologist, Dr. Buckner has exceptional enthusiasm for natural history.His study of the historical documents discussing natural and anthropogenic fire has been inspiring to many other students of fire ecology. Dr. Buckner has showed how important it is to understand the past in order to understand the challenges and possibilities in land management today.

Perhaps Dr. Buckner’s strongest legacy is in the hundreds of students that he taught and mentored. He instilled them with the knowledge of fire’s role in the environment and trained them to see the essential ecological processes behind the forest. He has had a tremendous and wonderful impact on their lives. But probably the greatest contribution that Dr. Buckner has made to the discipline of Fire Ecology has been his teaching. His lectures and presentations on fire history and fire ecology have been given to well over 100 audiences over the past 25 years. Those audiences range from lay clubs and college sophomores to research conferences, professional organizations, environmental groups, and government agencies. He had great enthusiasm for fire history and the use of prescribed fire and his students were always excited and inspired by his teaching.

Dr. David H. van Lear, 2005 Stoddard Award

Dr. Van Lear’s academic background includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 1969. Early in his career Dr. Van Lear worked as a post-doc at the University of Florida and the USFS Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. In 1971 he joined the faculty at Clemson University where he taught and conducted research and outreach for the next 31 years.

During his career Dr. Van Lear received many grants, authored or co-authored over 200 papers, and assumed multiple leadership and service roles. He conducted over twenty years of research on the effects of fire on the southern landscape. His work with Pat Brose on utilizing fire to regenerate southern upland oaks was a significant contribution to the early understanding of the role of fire in restoring and maintaining southern hardwood ecosystems. In addition to this award, Dr. Van Lear has received numerous other awards, including Clemson’s prestigious Godley-Shell Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research.

Dr. Stephen F. Arno, 2004 Biswell Award

Dr. Arno received his B.S. in Forestry from Washington State University and earned his Masters and Doctorate in Plant Science from the University of Montana. Dr. Arno served as a Research Plant Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Research and Development Branch from 1970 to 1999. The latter two decades of his career were spent as a Fire Ecologist on the Fire Effects Project at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab.

In the mid-1970′s, Dr. Arno began pioneering research on fire history that resulted in major advances in knowledge of the role of fire in the northern Rocky Mountains. He developed methods, trained managers in dedrochornological techniques, and gained international recognition for his contributions in fire history and the role of fire in vegetation dynamics. During his 29 year career he publishe approximately 60 papers on the ecology, fire history, restoration, and management of northern Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Through his published research and field trips, he gained recognition among both scholars and managers as a great advocate for restoration of fire adapted ecosystems. Dr. Arno’s work has influenced many scientists, managers, and practitioners in the field of fire history.

Dr. Robert E. Martin, 2003 Biswell Award

Dr. Scott Stephens, Dr. Bob Martin, and Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk

Dr. Martin earned a B.S. in Physics from Marquette University in 1953, and then a B.S. (1958), M.F. (1959) and Ph.D. (1963) in Forestry from the University of Michigan. Upon completion of his B.S. in Forestry, he joined the USFS Southern Forest Fire Laboratory in Macon, Georgia where he worked from 1958-1963 while simultaneously completing his graduate studies. From 1963 to 1971, Dr. Martin served as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Forestry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.


In 1971, Dr. Martin moved west to accept an appointment as Project Leader for the Cooperative Forest Fire Science Research and Teaching Program between the University of Washington and the USFS. In 1975, he moved to Bend, OR to head the USFS Silviculture Lab. Then in 1982 he moved to U.C. Berkeley as a Professor of Wildland Fire Management. He retired in 1994. Dr. Martin had a very diverse career including research in wood physics, fire behavior, fire ecology, and fire in the urban-wildland interface. He also worked in almost all areas of the U.S. that have important wildland fire issues.

Dale D. Wade, 2003 Stoddard Award

Dr. Brian Oswald, Dale D. Wade, and Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk

Dale Wade earned his B.S. from Rutgers University in 1961 and his M.S. from the University of Montana in 1965. He was a Fire Team Leader in the Disturbance and Management section of the Southern Ecosystems Research Unit, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service.

From 1965 until 1996 he worked as a Research Forester for the Southern Research Station in Athens Georgia and the Southern Forest Fire Laboratory in Macon, Georgia and Lehigh Acres, Florida. He aso worked as a Forester for the Southern Region and with the Fire and Aviation Staff in Atlanta, Georgia.

During his career, Dale was recognized as a leader in prescribed fire in the Southern U.S. as well as fire management and fire at the urban-wildland interface. In the last 15 years Dale was principal investigator or co-PI for more than 24 grants totaling over 20 million dollars.

He authored or co-authored over 100 fire related publications, including the standard on prescribed fire in the South. Much of his research took place in South Carolina. In addition to the Stoddard Award from AFE, Dale has received the National “Excellence in Prescribed Fire” award; he is the Southeastern Station recipient of the Chief’s Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer; he is a Registered Forester, Georgia and Certified Burner in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; and he has received several SAF awards.