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Jeffrey P. Prestemon

Project Leader
Forest Economics and Policy
P.O. Box 12254
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2254
United States
Current Research

Principal study areas: (i) economic and statistical analysis of forest-based disturbances, (ii) international trade, and (iii) timber market structure and function. A major focus of disturbance research is to understand the production of wildfire and its management, and to expand understanding of effective approaches to reducing the occurrences of green crimes. Markets research evaluates domestic and international forest product and timber price relationships. Trade research primarily seeks to identify the role of the U.S. forest sector in world markets.

Research Interest

Understanding human-caused wildfire processes

Quantifying the effects and economic net benefits of wildfire fuel treatments

Understanding processes of illegal activities, including green crimes, occurring in forests

Understanding the national and global impacts of policies and programs to reduce rates of illegal logging and trade in illegally sourced forest products

Nonlinear and linear modeling of forest product market prices and spatial relationships

The economics of forest based disturbances

National and global forest product markets and trade modeling

Why This Research Is Important

Understanding how humans intervene intentionally and unintentionally intervene in forests, markets, and disturbance processes can improve policies and programs that seek to maximize public and private well-being. Scientific analyses of disturbances, markets, and trade can also provide platforms for testing hypotheses and broader theories related to biophysical processes, landowner behavior, criminal activity, potentially advancing knowledge in related fields of inquiry.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., Forest Economics, 1994
  • North Carolina State University, M.S., Forest Economics, 1989
  • Iowa State University, B.S., Forest Resource Management, 1983
Professional Experience
  • Project Leader and Senior Research Forester, Economics and Policy Research (SRS-4804),  Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service,  2012 - Current
  • Research Forester, Economics of Forest Protection and Management (SRS-4851)/Economics and Policy Research (SRS-4804),  Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service,  1999 - 2012
  • Post-doctoral Economist, Economics of Forest Protection and Management (SRS-4851),  Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service,  1995 - 1999
  • Research Associate,  Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison,  1994 - 1995
  • Research Assistant,  Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison,  1991 - 1994
  • Research Assistant,  Department of Forestry, North Carolina State University,  1987 - 1990
  • Volunteer,  U.S. Peace Corps, Honduras,  1984 - 1986
  • Laboratory Technician,  Iowa State University,  1980 - 1983
Professional Organizations
  • Associate Editor,  International Journal of Wildland Fire,  2012 - 2019
    Manage the manuscript referee process for economics related submissions
  • Associate Editor,  Forest Science,  2004 - 2011
    Manage the manuscript referee process for economics related submissions
  • Associate Editor,  Forest Policy and Economics,  2002 - 2006
    Manage the manuscript referee process for economics related submissions
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Future Wildfire in the South will be Driven by Society as well as Climate Change

Year: 2016
The area burned by wildfire is likely to change over the coming decades, report Forest Service scientists and their partners. The shifts are due to climate change and changes in land use, human populations, and economic activity. Across the southern U.S., the area burned by lightning-caused wildfire...

Connecting future residential construction and lumber demand in the United States

Year: 2018
Housing starts can be predicted by the rate of overall economic growth, and such a prediction informs estimates of future softwood lumber consumption in the U.S.

Wildfire Prevention Pays Big Dividends

Year: 2012
Wildfire prevention efforts on tribal lands in the United States have benefits that likely exceed costs by at least tenfold

Helping federal agencies manage fire budgets

Year: 2011
Budgeting for wildfire suppression is increasingly difficult for federal for the Forest Service and Department of the Interior. In the past, fire suppression activities were often funded at the expense of other agency programs. The FLAME Act of 2009, which provides funding for wildfire suppression, ...

The Forest Service Leads an Interagency Team to Better Understand How Wildfires are Ignited

Year: 2014
Forest Service, Department of Interior, and state land management agencies collaborated in a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy science team to better understand trends and causes of wildfires. The resulting assessment document was designed to uncover likely avenues for advancing re...

Why Have smoking-caused wildfires declined in frequency

Year: 2014
The number of wildfires caused by smoking has declined by 90 percent on national forests since 1980, yet little is known about why, when most other causes have not declined so precipitously. Collaborative research between the Forest Service scientists and the National Institute of Standards and Tech...

A Scientist Finds that the Lacey Act Amendment of 2008 Works to Limit Illegal Wood Imports

Year: 2015
Forest Service scientist Jeffrey Prestemon evaluated U.S. import trade data from countries that are suspected sources of illegally obtained wood. Using statistical analysis, results showed that the quantity of tropical lumber and hardwood plywood imports from such countries in Asia and Latin America...

Wild American Ginseng Shows Indications of Economic Overharvest

Year: 2019
Overharvest can occur in open access marine fisheries, leading to lower total economic profits. Could the same occur with medicinal forest products? A team of USDA Forest Service botanists and economists collaborated on a study that suggests American ginseng is subject to a backward bending supply c...

Fire in the Southern Appalachians: Understanding Impacts, Interventions, and Future Fire Events

Year: 2020
Of all the documented fires in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, between 1992 to 2017, the Chimney Tops 2 fire accounts for more than half of the total area burned. The Chimney Tops 2 fire was unlike any other in recent decades in the Southern Appalachians. A team of SRS researcher...

Global and Regional Forest Area Projections Using an Updated Environmental Kuznets Curve Model

Year: 2020
Forest resources are critical to environmental, economic, and social development. Therefore, understanding how global forest area will evolve in the future is important. This study used an updated Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) model to project total forest area through the year 2100 in 168 count...

Global and Regional Outlooks for Planted Forest Area Based Quadratic Relationships with Per Capita Income

Year: 2020
This study provides insight into the prospective planted forest area futures through the year 2100 in various countries, aggregated into major regions and the world, using the estimated quadratic relationships between per capita income and planted forest area, and compared with the past published pr...

Understanding the Effects of Increased Use of Wood Energy on Timber and Wood Product Markets

Year: 2019
The development of new markets for wood products has potentially important impacts on the American public and taxpayers: competition with existing industries could increase or decrease outputs and potentially increase income to forest landowners, making forests more profitable and thus retained as f...