CSU researcher awarded for excellency in advancement of forestry

A Colorado State University forestry researcher is being honored with a prestigious award recognizing outstanding achievement in biological research leading to the advancement of forestry.

Linda Nagel and a Nothofagus tree on a field tour as part of an International Union of Forest Resource Organizations (IUFRO) uneven-aged silviculture meeting in Valdivia, Chile.
Linda Nagel and a Nothofagus tree on a field tour as part of an International Union of Forest Resource Organizations uneven-aged silviculture meeting in Valdivia, Chile.

Linda Nagel, a silviculturist, professor and head of the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship department in the Warner College of Natural Resources at CSU has been awarded the Society of American Foresters Barrington Moore Memorial Award in Biological Science.

Nagel will receive the award this year at the SAF national convention. It will honor her leadership of prominent national silviculture programs and her personal research over the last decade, which has focused on climate-adaptive forest management.

The award criteria include research quality, productivity, innovation and impact, evidence as well as relevance both nationally and internationally. One winner each year exemplifies these qualities in their body of work.

Before her tenure at CSU, Nagel’s career began at Michigan Technological University and the University of Minnesota. Her time at those universities resulted in research papers on the application of uneven-aged silviculture in northern hardwoods using both single-tree and group selection methods.

She also led programs like the USDA Forest Service’s National Advanced Silviculture Program at Michigan Tech and the University of Minnesota and served as Director of the Cloquet Forestry Center & Hubachek Wilderness Research Center, among many other roles.

Nagel was nominated by colleagues from the Warner College of Natural Resources, the USDA Forest Service, the Society of American Foresters, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, the Colorado State Forest Service and members of the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Network, a project she spearheaded over 10 years ago. The nomination letters focused on her work across these universities and the leadership roles she’s taken in premier silviculture research organizations.

One such nomination came from Nagel’s colleague, Michael Lester, now retired director of the Colorado State Forest Service who spoke on her role in creating a strong relationship between the CSFS and CSU, as well as her innovative leadership in silviculture programs.

“In my 35-year forestry career, Linda is one of the most impactful forest scientists I’ve had the honor to work with,” Lester wrote. “She embodies the marriage of rigorous and innovative science with highly-effective partnerships.”

Nagel said she is honored by the award and nomination, given the great support she received for this award from professionals in her field.

“It’s very humbling when your colleagues nominate you especially when you have such respect for those peers. It’s very meaningful for me to be thought of in the same realm as previous winners,” Nagel said.

Work in the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change project

Linda Nagel, Courtney Peterson, and Maria Janowiak at the Petawawa Research Forest, Ontario Canada, one of the ASCC Network sites.
Nagel engaging about climate change impacts with foresters at the Colorado State Forest.

Much of Nagel’s recognition has been for her work with the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change project, a collaborative effort to establish a series of experimental silvicultural trials across a network of different forest ecosystem types throughout the United States and Canada.

Nagel has led the ASCC project since its inception in 2009 when she and other researchers created a science team that developed the conceptual framework for the experiment. Under Nagel’s leadership, ASCC works to introduce natural resource managers to conceptual tools and approaches that integrate climate change into on-the-ground planning and decision-making processes.

The project uses a co-development framework that engages local managers and scientists in designing specific climate change adaptation treatments as part of what has become an international study.

The award only highlights the need for the work she and her colleagues have done, Nagel said. “As researchers and forest managers, we’ve recognized that climate change is real, and that it’s having an increasingly significant impact on our forest ecosystems,” Nagel said. “As natural resource managers, we must figure out how to think about and manage for climate change into the future.”

John Hayes, dean of Warner College of Natural Resources, said the award is well-deserved recognition of the impactful research program Nagel has led over the years.

“Dr. Nagel’s recognition by the nation’s leading forestry organization is a testament to the strength of her research activities and to her commitment to the health and resilience of forest systems, which are key to the health and well-being of our environment, our society and our planet,” Hayes said. “We take great pride in her distinction and in the impacts her work is having on our understanding of forest ecology and management.”