AFE Award Winners
Recipients of the AFE Lifetime Achievement Award in Fire Ecology and Management
(l to r) Steve Cole, Dave Van Lear; 2005 Stoddard Award, Tom Waldrop, Dale Wade; 2003 Stoddard Award, Ed Buckner; 2006 Stoddard Award. Photo by Patrick Brose
Henry Wright Lifetime Achievement Award - Dr. David M. Engle
Biswell Award – Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk
Stoddard Award – Dr. William Patterson
Biswell Award – Dr. Steve Bunting
Harold Biswell Award – Dr. Stephen F. Arno
AFE Award Winners Bios
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
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.
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 totalling 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.[/learn_more]