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Burns receives Award in Forest Science

Robert Burns stands outside the Erickson Alumni Center in MorgantownThe Society of American Foresters recently honored Robert Burns, director of the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources and professor of recreation, parks and tourism resources in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, with its Award in Forest Science for 2020.

The competitive award recognizes distinguished individual research in any branch of the quantitative, managerial and/or social sciences that has resulted in substantial advances in forestry.

For more than 20 years, Burns has worked with various federal agencies, including the United States Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and other entities to find a balance between the demand for forest products and social use on public lands.

His outlook on land use is utilitarian, recognizing the many uses and competing demands that support economies and people at every scale - from the provision of public services, to the production of wood on public and private lands, and for economic, environmental and social benefit.

As a researcher, Burns’ scholarship involves collecting and using data to support decision-making for public lands planning and management.

Currently, he's responsible for developing a systematic data collection effort that allows managers to better understand the visitors to marine resource areas managed by NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Through the National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Counting Process, resource managers will gain valid and reliable data and data collection methodologies to advance predictive capability and understanding of visitors.

Burns is also co-primary investigator for a five-year effort to improve West Virginia’s water quality, working collaboratively with WVU’s Institute for Water Security and Science.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University and a doctorate in recreation, parks and tourism resources from Penn State University.



CONTACT: Lindsay Willey
Interim Director of Marketing and Communications
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design