Thomas Maness, a forest economist who specializes in developing innovative forest policies and practices to balance traditional production with ecosystem services, has been named dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.
Maness has been a professor and head of the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at OSU since 2009. He succeeds Hal Salwasser, who earlier this year announced his decision to step down as dean. Maness will begin his new duties as dean on Aug. 1.
As the Cheryl Ramberg and Allyn C. Ford Dean of Forestry – and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory – Maness will assume leadership of one of the world’s leading forestry programs. With nearly a thousand undergraduate and graduate students, an annual budget of some $25 million, and a robust research program, the OSU College of Forestry is a vital resource for managers of forests in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
“Dr. Maness is passionate about the College of Forestry and he has extensive industry and academic experience,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. “He is a broad thinker and understands sustainable, long-term management of forests and the resulting implications for forestry education, research and outreach.
“His vision and experience will help us further advance the college and its contributions to the university’s signature area of advancing the science of sustainable earth ecosystems,” Randhawa added.
Maness has worked for Weyerhaeuser Company as a forest engineer in the Klamath Falls region, where he developed strategic forest planning models and manufacturing optimization systems for West Coast sawmills. He returned to school and earned his Ph.D. in forest economics from the University of Washington in 1989, and joined the faculty of the University of British Columbia. Maness earned a B.S. in forest management from Western Virginia University and an M.S. in forest operations from Virginia Tech.
In 1994, Maness founded the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Advanced Wood Processing, and directed the program for five years, then led a $25 million fund-raising campaign for the center. In 2002, the new undergraduate program he helped develop there won the Yves Landry Foundation Award for most innovative Canadian university-level manufacturing technology program.
Maness founded the BC Forum on Forest Economics and Policy in 2004 – a research and outreach center to engage stakeholders in building a strategic vision for the future of British Columbia’s forest sector. During a 2008 sabbatical, he worked as a senior policy analyst with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on climate mitigation and wood energy policy.
In addition to his expertise on Northwest forests, Maness has worked extensively in South America.