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Thomas M. Schuler

Thomas M. Schuler
National Program Leader - Silviculture Research
Sustainable Forest Management Research
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Mailstop 1115
Washington, DC 20250-0003
United States
Current Research
Position statement: Thomas Schuler serves as a National Program Leader for Silviculture Research on the Sustainable Forest Management Research (SFMR) staff within the Office of the Deputy Chief for Research & Development in the USDA Forest Service’s national headquarters. Current projects include developing a national silviculture treatment library for use with scenario planning and other large-scale models, coordinating a national effort to synthesize active forest management guidelines for resilient and productive forests in the 21st century, and serving as the National Task Leader for the International Energy Agency Bioenergy working group (Task 43).
Past Research

Before coming to the Washington Office, Schuler was both a research forester and a project leader with the Forest Service in the Central Appalachians. His science focused on silviculture of mixed-oak forests and the restoration of high-elevation spruce forests. He was assigned responsibility for the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia and also had oversight for the Kane Experimental Forest in Pennsylvania and the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest in Ohio. His research team focused on forest management research related to restoration, water, wildlife, and forest products.

Research Interest
  • Developing a national silviculture treatment library to aid in large-scale modeling and to support the shared stewardship initiative. 
  • Silvicultural science needed to restore and sustain the Nation's forests.
  • Biomass supply chain and logistics systems that efficiently recover and deliver biomass for multiple products and markets including bioenergy.

Why This Research Is Important
Forests in the 21st century face urgent challenges related to high-intensity wildfires, insects and disease epidemics, drought related mortality, and invasive species. And although most forests have adapted to a wide range of disturbances, conditions and circumstances today often lead to catastrophic losses that compromise the goods and services we want and need from healthy ecosystems. As such, forest science that gives forest managers and stakeholders the tools and insights needed to make informed decisions to sustain forests is central to the Forest Service mission.
  • Purdue University, Ph.D., , 1998
  • Colorado State University, M.S., , 1987
  • Purdue University, B.S.F., , 1979
Professional Organizations
  • Chair National Capital Chapter,  Society of American Foresters (SAF),  2021 - Current
  • National Task Leader,  International Energy Agency Task 43,  2018 - Current
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO),  Current
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Restoring Fed Spruce Forests in the Central Appalachians

Year: 2016
Red spruce forests once dominated the mountain tops of the Central Appalachians, but following exploitive logging and destructive wildfires a century ago these forests were nearly extirpated. Today there is much interest in restoring and connecting remnant patches of high elevation spruce but method...

Forest management demonstration area highlights working forest

Year: 2017
New research published in 2017 describes the results of a 60-year forest management demonstration area on the Fernow Experimental Forest and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

Endangered Running Buffalo Clover Finds a Home in West Virginia

Year: 2013
Running buffalo clover was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1983 and is now classified as a federally endangered species. It is still rare but grows on the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia. Forest Service researchers found that periodic partial harvesting appears to sust...

Uneven-Aged Management: Is It Sustainable

Year: 2014
A century ago, after almost all of the old-growth forests in the eastern United States had been harvested, forest managers turned to Europe for guidance on forest management. European-trained foresters were advancing the concept of uneven-aged management, which involved periodic removal of trees fro...

Threats From Wind Energy Turbines Identified for Migrating Golden Eagles

Year: 2012
National team studies movement ecology of eagles to understand behaviors that may put them at risk from energy development

Landscape Scale Conservation Evaluation of the West Virginia Restoration Venture

Year: 2016
Long-term investment in relationships with local organizations increases opportunities for landscape scale conservation.

Fire in my hardwood forest... is my investment in my family's future lost

Year: 2014
Does the idea "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" apply when a low- to medium-intensity wildfire or prescribed fire has run through a hardwood woodlot or forest stand Timing has a lot to do with the answer to this question: If the forest isn't harvested for several decades, or it is harvested...

“Smart Forests” Digital Environmental Sensors and Telecommunications Take Research to New Levels

Year: 2015
Scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century will be powered by tools that help researchers collect and manipulate massive datasets, visualize that data, and offer new ways of understanding the scientific processes behind that information. Forest Service scientists are taking a lead in developing a ...