Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Professor Daowei Zhang is one of 10 international scientists recognized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, or IUFRO, as recipients of its Scientific Achievement Award for 2019.
Zhang, who received the award in honor of his research in forest economics and policy, accepted it at the opening ceremony of the IUFRO World Congress held recently in Curitiba, Brazil.
Established in 1892, IUFRO has more than 800 research organization members from more than 140 countries. Once every five years, the IUFRO honors 10 outstanding scientists who advance science and promote international cooperation in all fields of research related to forestry.
“I would like to express my appreciation to colleagues and students at Auburn University and elsewhere for their inspiration and support,” Zhang said.
The IUFRO reports that Zhang has established himself as an authority on highly significant policy matters in North America and beyond, including the spotted owl issue, the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade dispute and the rise of institutional timberland ownerships.
The organization also cites Zhang as a pioneer in the realm of property rights, pointing out that he was the first to empirically show the impact of forest tenure on silvicultural investment, reforestation and forest sustainability
“The IUFRO’s Scientific Achievement Award offers further confirmation of Dr. Zhang’s significant contributions through his research and accomplishments in forestry, which have resulted in vast improvements in policy on a global scale,” said School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati.
“This recognition also shines a light on the significance of his work at Auburn.”
Between 2007-2009, the Chinese government implemented Zhang’s 2001 recommendations for forest tenure reform. His call for changing volume-based tenure to area-based tenure in British Columbia is steadily gaining public support, as well.
His book, “The Softwood Lumber War: Politics, Economics, and the Long U.S.-Canada Trade Dispute” (Resource for the Future Press, 2007), was described as “an accurate, thorough, and comprehensive treatment of the long-running trade dispute” by the U.S. Congressional Research Service; suggested as “a required reading for every Canadian and U.S. politician” by the Vancouver Sun; and labeled as “the standard by which other books on forest trade policy are judged” by the Journal of Forestry.
“He has been a true innovator in the application of public choice theory in various forest policies and legislations,” the IUFRO writes of Zhang. “He is also an authority on foreign direct investment in the forest industry, a subject he has studied since the late 1980s. His co-authored Forest Economics textbook has been published in English, Chinese and Russian and is being translated into Spanish, and is used by more than 40 universities in five continents.”
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Zhang’s current work involves delving into several significant research topics that will affect broad international policy implications. Among them are the economics of ecosystem restoration, payments for ecosystem services, and laws and regulations aimed at improving forest governance and reducing illegal logging in developing countries.
(Written by Teri Greene)