USDA-FS Fellowship Summarizing Quantitative Characteristics of Old-Growth Forests in the Southeastern United States

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Asheville, North Carolina

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Deadline Aug 31, 2024


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USDA Forest Service Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) within the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) located in Asheville, North Carolina.

At the heart of the USDA Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the USDA Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research Project: The SRS and Region 8 seek an ORISE Fellow to contribute on a joint project to develop the best available science information related to old-growth forests in the southern United States. This research will support the Region’s planning and management on their National Forests and Grasslands. The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary team of scientists and managers collaborating to summarize existing literature on old growth relevant to the region. This will entail reviewing and synthesizing current literature into quantitative summaries of old-growth characters to support the project and help integrate the science into a new old-growth guidance supplemental document and decision support system in development. Additionally, this project will involve testing and support of the creation of a reliable sampling method for old-growth characters in the field.

Learning Objectives: Under the guidance of a SRS mentor, the successful fellow candidate will:

  • Develop a better understanding of the nature of old-growth forests, both in the South and across the US.
  • Learn the skills needed to produce summaries and interpret the best available science intended to support a public land management agency’s planning and management decisions.
  • Expand field-sampling skills to include sampling techniques utilized by National Forest System forests, including Common Stand Exam protocols
  • Advance the science of old growth through the review and synthesis of existing literature.
  • Develop and enhance their skills related to literature review, data synthesis, publication production, and collaboration skills with a diverse group of professionals.
  •  Expand their collaborative and networking skills within both Forest Service Research & Development and National Forest System program areas.

Mentor: The mentor for this opportunity is Margaret Woodbridge (margaret.woodbridge@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 15, 2024.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USDA Forest Service and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USDA Forest Service. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USDA Forest Service, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email ORISE.USFS.SRS@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing or have received a bachelor's degree in the one of the relevant fields.


The application must be completed through Zintellect. https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-FS-SRS-2024-0212

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Ecology, Forestry