Forest ecologist one of the recipients of 11th Annual Heinz Awards

Jerry Franklin, Ph.D., forest ecologist, educator and the "father of new forestry" from Seattle, is one of six individuals selected to receive this year's Heinz Awards.

Presented by the Heinz Family Foundation of Pittsburgh since 1994, the $250,000 Heinz Awards, among the largest individual achievement prizes in the world, recognize profound contributions across a spectrum of activity -- from the arts and the environment to technology and public policy.

The Heinz Awards were established by Mrs. Heinz through the Heinz Family Foundation of Pittsburgh in 1993 to honor and sustain the legacy of her husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, who died two years earlier. The awards recognize exceptional leadership and accomplishments in areas of particular interest to Senator Heinz, who said: "The most important investments -- and the most profitable -- are investments in people."

A forest ecologist and progenitor of a new paradigm for protecting America's 4,500-year-old-growth forests, Dr. Jerry Forest Franklin is one of the nation's leading authorities on sustainable forest management. Considered the "father of new forestry" and the "guru of old-growth forests," Dr. Franklin challenged the long-held conventional practice of clear-cutting by advancing solutions based more on science. His "new forestry" strategy for logging -- which advocates leaving logs, standing dead trees and scattered live trees -- more closely aligns with the legacies left by natural disturbance cycles. While his views were met at first with skepticism and derision within the industry, his "new forestry" principles have since been embraced by environmentalists and timber companies alike.

Dr. Franklin has spent his entire career in forestry research, beginning in 1959 as a research forester for the USDA Forest Service. He served as director of the ecosystem studies program for the National Science Foundation, president for the Ecological Society of America and on numerous local, national and global commissions studying forest issues. After teaching at Oregon State University, he became professor of ecosystem analysis at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Franklin also serves as the director of the Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility where he has installed a 250-foot tall construction crane. The crane provides access to the canopy of an old-growth forest for research, allowing scientists to probe the relationship between forests and climate change.

The Heinz Awards will be presented at a private ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 24.

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This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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