BMFP Researcher Dr. James Johnston Wins Regional Forester’s Partnership Award!

Dr. Johnston has been involved with the Blue Mountains Forest Partners for more than a decade by providing the forest collaborative and the Malheur National Forest with rigorous, place-based monitoring data, research, and synthesis on dry forest dynamics, disturbance processes, efficacy of ecological forestry restoration practices, and causes of mortality of mature and old growth trees on the Malheur National Forest among other relevant scientific information.  Dr. Johnston’s work has provided local Forest Service managers with actionable information on how to increase the pace, scale, and quality of restoration actions designed to reduce wildfire risk and increase community socioeconomic and ecological resilience.

In his frequent science presentations to the forest collaborative and Forest Service, Dr. Johnston is an excellent storyteller who is able to simplify complex scientific information and explain the implications of his research to the forest and communities that depend on a healthy forest for their well-being, which helps develop the social license necessary to confront the Wildfire Crisis.  For example, Dr. Johnston recently presented some of his research findings at the invitation of the Deschutes Land Trust, where he also discussed collaborative conservation on the Malheur and Deschutes National Forests.

Dr. Johnston has authored numerous peer-reviewed research papers that have informed and strengthened project planning on the Malheur National Forest through the use of site-specific research.  In addition to Dr. Johnston’s many research products, he has also authored two “zones of agreement” (ZOAs) that capture the scientific underpinning for the collaborative restoration work occurring on the Malheur National Forest.  The first ZOA, the Upland Forest Restoration Zones of Agreement, outlines the strong scientific consensus around forest restoration in dry forests, and the second ZOA, the Integrated Upland Zones of Agreement, addresses terrestrial restoration of additional upland vegetation such as aspen and white bark pine, and discusses the climate and carbon benefits of such restoration.  There are few, if any, other examples in forest collaboration of such robust science-driven common ground principles in our region: Dr. Johnston’s work has set an important example of how science can and should inform management.

Indeed, Dr. Johnston’s work extends past the Malheur National Forest.  He is currently working with collaborative partners and the Forest Service on the Willamette National Forest to study fire ecology and disturbance patterns on that Forest and has worked elsewhere in the region to provide actionable research to guide agency decisionmaking across large landscapes.  Dr. Johnston has also supported Forest Service wildfire risk reduction and old forest conservation efforts in federal court by filing amicus curiae briefs that discuss the state of dry forest science in defense of agency decisions.

Dr. Johnston is an essential Forest Service partner whose work has provided us with important scientific information about the forests we manage for the American people.  He has spent thousands of hours on the ground on the Malheur National Forest and other national forests in our region and knows these forests better than most.  This knowledge, which Dr. Johnston regularly shares selflessly, helps educate our publics and creates the social license we need to better steward these lands.

You can review the award letter here.