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Simon M. Kihia

Simon M. Kihia
Research Program Manager
Goods, Services, and Values
400 N 34th St., Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103-8600
United States
Current Research

I am currently the Program Manager for the Goods, Services and Values program, a social science program of the Pacific Northwest Research Station that is based in the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle.

The mission of my program is to conduct and communicate research to advance understanding of relationships among people and forest and rangeland ecosystems.

We examine how the public perceives and values ecological functions, goods, and services, and how these factors influence people’s use and management of landscapes. This includes examining how socioeconomic factors, such as income, population, and technology, and social characteristics, such as traditions and beliefs, influence perceptions and values, with a focus on their resulting impacts on recreation, forest and range management, and economic opportunities in rural places. The goal in undertaking this research is to improve understanding about the effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness of government policies, management, decision-making processes, and programs by helping policymakers, managers, and the public understand the variety of available options and the ways we interact with and manage natural resources.

Research in the Goods, Services, and Values program is conducted under 6 main themes: (1) urban ecosytems, (2) community resilience, (3) outdoor recreation, (4) landscape planning and management, (5) forest products and (6) ecosystem services.

Past Research
I have been involved in research since the 1980s in the field of wood science and products. I led research in mapping the physical and mechanical characteristics of East African-grown Eucalyptus saligna and Grandis, effective treatability of Kenyan-grown Eucalyptus spp. using creosote or chromated copper arsenates, development of both wood treatment and timber grading standards, and improving market interests for low interest wood species.
I have also developed strategies for on the ground implementation and effective monitoring of the Washington state's Department of Natural Resources's habitat conservation plan.

I am completely fluent in Swahili, the national language of most countries in East Africa. This is in addition to English as well as a few other native languages.
Research Interest
  • Reconstitued wood products
  • Biofuels and bioenergy
Why This Research Is Important

The program's research work fulfills societal needs for information to facilitate natural resource management. We help address complex issues like climate change and wildland fire by including human perspectives on adaptation and mitigation efforts for forests and rangelands. Our work helps land managers and policymakers anticipate people’s responses to changing management strategies by examining how people value landscapes and adapt to change, by improving methods to characterize the goods and services that landscapes produce, and by describing people’s expectations of ecosystems across an urban-to-wildland continuum. Although future human-ecosystem relationships cannot be predicted with certainty, our work can help policymakers and managers prepare for changing societal expectations by identifying a range of management options that will allow them to anticipate and respond to emerging natural resource management challenges.

  • University of Toronto, Canada, M.S., Wood Science and Wood Products specializing in reconstituted wood products., 1986
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, B.S., Forest Resources Management., 1981
Professional Experience
  • Research Program Manager, GSV Program,  PNW Research Station,  2013 - Current
  • Team Leader,  FIA-RMA PNW Research Station,  2011 - 2013
  • Assistant Division Manager,  WA DNR,  2000 - 2011
    I was an assistant division manager for several divisions. Between 2001 and 2004, I was responsible for Habitat Conservation Plan's research and monitoring aspects. From 2008 to 2011, I was a member of WA shorelines hearing board in addition to my division responsibilities.
  • Natural Resources Specialist,  WA DNR,  1998 - 2000
  • Production Director,  EATEC Ltd, Lonrho PLC,  1995 - 1998
  • Research and Development Manager ,  EATEC Ltd, Lonrho PLC,  1992 - 1995
  • Deputy Plant Manager, Wood Processing and Preservation,  EATEC Ltd, Lonrho PLC,  1989 - 1992
  • Conservator of Forests,  Kenya Forest Service,  1981 - 1989
Professional Organizations
  • Member,  Society of American Foresters (SAF),  1999 - Current
  • Member,  Kenya Forester's Association,  1983 - Current
  • Member,  Society of American Foresters (SAF),  1999 - Current
  • Member,  Kenya Forester's Association,  1983 - Current
  • Member,  Society of American Foresters (SAF),  1999 - Current
  • Member,  Kenya Forester's Association,  1983 - Current
  • Member,  Society of American Foresters (SAF),  1999 - Current
  • Member,  Kenya Forester's Association,  1983 - Current
Research Highlights

Tree Moss can be Used as an Inexpensive Bioindicator of Air Pollution in Complex Urban Environments

Year: 2016
Urban air pollution monitors are very expensive and often too widely spaced to identify many sources of air pollution. Mosses accumulate pollutants from the atmosphere and can serve as an inexpensive screening tool for mapping air quality and guiding the placement of monitoring instruments. The meth...