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Carl Fiedler

Forestry Pioneer

Carl FiedlerCarl Fiedler grew up “out in the sticks” of rural northern Wisconsin, where he decided in third grade that he wanted to be a forester. He later moved west and earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry at UM.

After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. Carl started his career in 1980 as a research forester with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station. In 1982, he took a position as Research Professor of Forest Management at the UM School of Forestry.

Carl installed a selection cutting/prescribed burning experiment on the Bitterroot National Forest in conjunction with the Missoula Fire Lab. He was also the academic member of the national external review team that evaluated research at the Tall Timbers Research Station. He authored a publication with the USFWS listing biologist that proposed active forest management within suitable habitat for the threatened southwestern spotted owl, an approach that also retained the owl’s habitat needs.

Carl worked with Bob Pfister and Jack Ward Thomas to develop old-growth guidelines for managing State Trust Lands. He worked with Charles Keegan modeling and testing (“computer logging”) alternative treatments to reduce wildfire hazard on Montana’s 5 million acres of high-hazard forests.

Carl provided interviews to the BBCArizona RepublicLos Angeles TimesPortland OregonianWall Street Journal, and numerous local outlets about options to reduce wildfire hazard in the western U.S.

He was the site leader for a six-year, national Joint Fire Science Program experiment to evaluate wildfire hazard reduction treatments at an operational scale. Carl testified to Congress on the need for active management to reduce wildfire hazard. He also presented professional short courses in numerous western states on thinning, fuel sampling, designing and implementing selection cutting, hazard reduction, and forest restoration treatments.

Carl retired in 2007. He was then invited to present western U.S. approaches to restoration at Sweden’s first-ever conference on forest restoration. He also served as coordinator for the 2010 High-Five Symposium, an international meeting focused on the ecology, management, and sustainability of the world’s five-needle pines.

Carl co-authored a publication that proposed different restoration approaches to sustain viable whitebark pine populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem vs the Northern Divide (Glacier-Flathead) Ecosystem. He co-authored two books with Steve Arno “Mimicking Nature’s Fire” and “Ponderosa,” and is currently finishing a third.

Carl served as Chair of the Inland Empire Reforestation Council from 1991-92; and Chair of the State of Montana Arboretum from 1993-2006. He received the USFS Sustainable Forestry Award in 1993; and SAF Fellow in 2006.








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