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1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Stephen Arno

Forestry Pioneer

Stephen ArnoStephen Arno was raised in a forest setting and according to his mother’s diary loved hiking and playing in the forest when he was two years old. He began supplying his mother’s favorite fuel for her kitchen stove at age five by hauling large chunks of thick coastal Douglas-fir bark up a long catwalk from their beach on shores of Puget Sound. By age 11 he was capturing logs that had escaped from log booms using the family’s 11-foot motorboat. He quickly sawed them with a 6-foot crosscut and split them into firewood on the beach to prevent the log patrol from towing them away and keeping the family in ample supply.

Steve has had a life-long love of forests and wise use of them. He earned a B.S degree in Forestry from Washington State University then continued his education earning a M.S and a PhD in Forestry and Plant Science with emphasis on forest ecology from the University of Montana in 1970.  Steve worked for Bob Pfister helping to develop the forest habitat type classification system for Montana, then spent the next 26 years at the USDA Forest Services Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula.  At the Fire Lab Steve studied forest and fire ecology of western forests. The focus of his work was how the natural role of fire shaped and sustained our original forests here in Montana and the inland west.  Steve experimented on how to apply combinations of prescribed fire, thinning, and harvesting to promote sustainable forests with desirable attributes of the original forests including large old western larch and ponderosa pine.

Since retiring in 1999 he has written about the West’s native forests and the need for appropriate forest and fuel management. With the help of son’s Matthew and Nathan and his wife Bonnie, he has practiced restoration forestry on the family’s ponderosa pine forest for over 45 years.

Steve has authored more than a hundred of peer-reviewed articles and scientific publications including 11 full length books.  Steve has received countless awards and acknowledgements from organizations such as the Montana Tree Farm Program, the Montana Wood Products Association, and the Society of American Foresters.  All of this reflects his lifelong dedication, passion, and commitment to the forestry profession.

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