CORVALLIS - Harold J. "Hal" Salwasser, who has directed the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station for the past two years, has been named dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.
Salwasser, a recognized leader in the U.S. Forest Service, will begin his tenure as dean on July 1, 2000. Interim dean Bart Thielges, who assumed leadership of the college after long-time dean George Brown retired earlier this year, will continue in his role until then.
As chief executive officer of the Pacific Southwest Research Station, Salwasser supervises the natural resources research and development of 65 scientists in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. He is responsible for an annual federal budget of mo re than $17 million and a staff of 320 employees. The station includes nine field laboratories and numerous cooperative ventures with state and federal agencies, and universities.
Before he assumed the directorship of the station, Salwasser was the regional forester for the northern region of the U.S. Forest Service. The highest-ranking official in a region that included Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, Salwasser ove rsaw the conservation and management of 13 National Forests and four National Grasslands. The Forest Service's 25 million-plus acres in that region includes the most biological diverse ecosystems in the continental United States.
Salwasser has been recognized for his achievements numerous times by the U.S. Forest Service, including his selection for the Senior Executive Service Award in 1992 and 1996.
OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Roy Arnold called Salwasser "the ideal choice" to lead one of the nation's premier forestry programs in the new millennium.
"The College of Forestry has evolved over the years to reflect the changes in natural resource management that have taken place, not only in this country, but around the world," Arnold said. "Hal Salwasser understands well the importance of balancing the productivity needs for our forests with the protection of their ecology and biodiversity. He has a background as both a forester and a wildlife biologist."
The university's College of Forestry is recognized nationally for its excellence. A recent survey by the Ecological Society of America ranked OSU 11th in the nation in the broad fields of ecology, evolution and behavior - and tabbed OSU first nationally in forest ecology.
As dean of the college, Salwasser will assume the leadership of a 106-year-old forestry program with an annual teaching and research budget of more than $20 million, which includes management of OSU's 15,000-acre research forest complex. The College of F orestry has about 100 faculty in its four departments and an enrollment of about 400 undergraduates and 150 graduate students.
Salwasser also will assume directorship of the Forest Research Laboratory, which spans a broad range of disciplines, including forest biology, ecology, soils, wildlife habitat, hydrologic and geologic processes, forest management and protection, forest e ngineering and harvesting technologies, wood products and processing technologies, and the social, economic and policy aspects of forests.
He also will oversee the college's outreach programs, which are growing by leaps and bounds, according to Thielges. "Our expanding extended education programs now reach 15,000 Oregonians each year," he said.
With the exception of one three-year stint, Salwasser has worked for the U.S. Forest Service for most of his professional career. He began as a regional wildlife ecologist in the Pacific Southwest Region in 1978, the year before he received his Ph.D. in wildland resource science from the University of California-Berkeley.
While with the Forest Service, Salwasser also has been the national wildlife ecologist, deputy director of Wildlife and Fisheries, director of New Perspectives, and regional forester.
From 1992 to 1995, he was the Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana.
Salwasser is active in the Society of American Foresters, the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Conservation Biology (of which he is a founding member), and the Wildlife Society, which he led as national president in 1994-95.