Dennis Ojima, longtime CSU professor, named president-elect of the Ecological Society of America

Dennis Ojima is the latest member of the Colorado State University faculty to be selected by members of the Ecological Society of America to serve as president-elect. His term begins in 2020.

Dennis Ojima in a natural area in Fort Collins
Dennis Ojima has been at the forefront of the field of ecology for more than 30 years. Photo: William A. Cotton/CSU Photography

Ojima is a senior research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and a professor emeritus in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.

“For more than 30 thirty years, Dennis Ojima has been at the forefront of the field of ecology and has had an immeasurable impact on the discipline,” said John Hayes, dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources at CSU. “His work bridging the critical gap between social and ecological systems while identifying the challenges and opportunities for societies to recognize and adapt to a changing climate has been critically important in our envisioning a more sustainable path for life on Earth into the future.”

Hayes praised Ojima’s ongoing work with national and international organizations.

“Beyond his own work, his engagement in a plethora of professional and scientific societies, institutes and organizations, like Ecological Society of America, has been deeply impactful,” he said. “We’re lucky to have Dennis as an integral member of the Warner College community, and his appointment as ESA president is a proud moment for all of us at CSU.”

ESA President Osvaldo Sala, who received his doctoral degree in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at CSU, said with the newest members elected to the ESA governing board, the society will continue the tradition of strong leadership and dedication to the science of ecology.

“I look forward to the new perspectives and experiences they will bring when their terms begin in August 2020, and I offer congratulations to each person joining the board,” he said in a statement.

Social-ecological approach

An ESA member since 1984, Ojima has focused on research that applies social-ecological approaches to climate and land use changes in dryland and grassland systems worldwide, including in Mongolia, China, Central Asia, parts of Africa and the United States.

He has been instrumental in the development of many international science programs.

Ojima was named Champion of the Environment by the Mongolian government and is recognized for his contributions to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the International Panel on Climate Change. He is also active in training young scholars and professionals in social-ecological system approaches to dealing with climate change impacts and responses in the U.S. and Asia.

“I am honored to be selected as president-elect of the Ecology Society of America,” he said. “Serving ESA over the coming years, and representing the members in their quest to pursue sound ecological research and to provide a platform to engage and communicate with civil society will be a role I will execute with integrity and with members’ guidance.”

Previous ESA presidents from CSU include Osvaldo Sala (2018 to 2020); Senior Research Scientist Jill Baron (2013 to 2014); Alan Covich, former chair of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (2005 to 2006); and University Distinguished Professor Diana Wall (1999 to 2000),

Learn more about the Governing Board of the Ecological Society of America on its website.