Forest Ecologist

University of Minnesota

This position is a part of the Applied Ecology and Resource Management Platform. The goal of this Platform is to characterize the current condition of Minnesota’s working lands, identify stressors that are leading to significant change, assess their potential impact and determine how to best model these changes through time.

This position will be responsible for building a forest-based ecological research program that integrates remotely sensed and field collected data to develop and deliver strategies for sustainable forest management. The position will have a strong focus on landscape-scale analyses, using tools such as geographic information systems, LiDAR, and other remotely sensed data to quantify forest composition, structure, and productivity. Modeling will also be a significant component of this work, including assessing forest response to climate and land use change, as well as contemporary forest issues such as invasive species, fire, and managing forests for multiple benefits. This is an applied research position, and the Forest Ecologist will be responsible for translating and communicating research for decision makers and land managers to use in planning processes.


Data Resources/Analysis (60%)

  • Characterize, both qualitatively and quantitatively, Minnesota’s working forest lands.
  • Identify data resources and evaluate their suitability for use in earth system models.
  • Analyze remotely sensed and field collected data, create datasets for model inputs, model data and develop and implement tests to ensure model accuracy.
  • Model forest and non-forest landscape change through time and identify causes and potential impacts of changes in ecosystems and landscapes.
  • Develop data analyses and visualizations that translate and communicate findings to land managers, decision makers, and the public.

Strategic Planning/Funding (30%)

  • Develops the strategic plan for the research program in coordination with the Forest and Lands Research Group Manager.
  • Pursues external funding to support the research program and implement field and lab tasks that support the strategic plan.
  • Prepares or contributes to preparation of peer-reviewed manuscripts, technical reports, annual reports, or other written or online materials.

Collaboration (10%)

  • Build collaborative alliances – internal (NRRI, UMD, UMN) and external (industry; federal, state, county, and tribal governments; academia) – to develop research program goals and objectives, pursue funding, identify opportunities for collaboration and develop leading edge data analysis and visualization to assist planning processes at local, regional, and international scales.


Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree; Forest Ecology, Forest Science, or a related field.
  • Minimum of five years relevant professional experience in field data collection, analysis, and modeling.
  • Demonstrated record of successful grant writing to support research.
  • Demonstrated record of research excellence leading to solutions that help clients achieve their goals.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree; Forest Ecology, Forest Science, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated ability to collect, analyze, interpret data and publish in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with traditional and remotely sensed, especially LIDAR, forest inventory data.
  • Demonstrated ability to obtain extramural funding (consistent with time since degree).
  • Demonstrated ability to use forest landscape change models.
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare written materials for scientists, managers, and decision makers.

About the Department

The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment, and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship. With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water, and mineral resources:

  • Applied Ecology and Resource Management
  • Minerals and Metallurgy
  • Materials and Bioeconomy
  • Data Collection and Delivery
  • Commercialization Services

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online. To apply for this position go to, and search for Job opening 347822. To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume.

Complete applications must include:

  • A cover letter expressing interest, availability, experience, and strengths as they relate to the position.
  • A current resume/curriculum vitae.
  • Contact information for three professional references.
  • Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your “My Job Applications” page and uploading documents in the “My Cover Letters and Attachments” section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U:

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

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