Jerry F FranklinThe Ecological Society of America has named Jerry Franklin, a University of Washington professor of environmental and forest sciences, its “Eminent Ecologist” of 2016. The award, considered the organization’s most prestigious accolade, honors a senior ecologist who has made significant, long-standing contributions to the field of ecology.

Franklin, who in his 60-year career has bridged philosophical gaps between traditional logging-oriented forestry and ecology, is credited with being the first scientist to focus research on old-growth forests, and for challenging clear-cutting practices to mold a “new forestry” dedicated to healthy forest ecosystems.

Franklin started his career with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in western Oregon, then became a UW professor in 1986 after 30 years as a forester. He worked for former President Bill Clinton on the controversial Northwest Forest Plan, the series of federal policies and guidelines that stopped clear-cutting of old-growth and refocused the Forest Service’s mission on nurturing forest ecosystems and their biological diversity.

Franklin also advised the U.S. House of Representatives and continues to work with the Obama administration on forest policy issues.

“The evolution of the science of forests as ecosystems has matured,” Franklin said. “The application of that science and how you go about managing forests in that way is perhaps the most important thing I’ve done. But it started with the old-growth.”

Read more at UW Today »