The Family Forest Research Center studies the behaviors and attitudes of the people who own forests. By investigating the social, political, and economic dimensions of family forest ownership, we seek to improve forest conservation in order to better meet the current and future needs of forest owners, communities, and society.

Family forest owners control more forestland in the United States than any other ownership group. The decisions they make about the stewardship and conservation of their land drives landscape change and shapes the public and private benefits the lands produces now and in the future.

The Family Forest Research Center (FFRC), a joint partnership between USDA Forest Service and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, conducts applied research to better understand family forest owners’ attitudes and behaviors in order to inform policies, programs, and services aimed at conserving forests for future generations.

We are seeking applications for a Doctorate-level graduate research assistantship to contribute to an integrated human-natural project. The project will combine data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis’ plot, landowner survey, and mill survey programs to address critical issues related to forest conservation.

The specific topic(s) to investigate will be determined by the student, in consultation with their graduate committee, but may include forest loss, forest management decisions, forest carbon sequestration, or other forest policy related issues. The student will work in a collaborative team environment to develop and apply appropriate theoretical and statistical models to these challenging questions.

In addition to being part of the FFRC team, the student will be part of an international collaboration (Inventory Data to Analyse Spatio-temporal Forest Drivers funded by the SNS Nordic Research Foundation) looking at these topics across multiple countries.


  • Master’s degree in natural resources or an allied field
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Highly motivated with a passion for research and learning
  • Experience with private landowners and statistical modelling are pluses

To apply: Contact Person: Brett Butler, Contact eMail:

Salary: Approx. $30,000/yr plus benefits and tuition waiver

Last Date to Apply: April03/2023


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