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USFS Forest Ecosystem Fellowship

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Oak Ridge Participation Programs (OPP) Outreach Team
Juneau, Alaska or Remote
$60,000-$80,000 per year & a health insurance allowance, travel/training allowance, and relocation
Closing date
May 16, 2024

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Global Environmental Change, Interdisciplinary/Other
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
Sector Type

A research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS), Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW) located in Juneau, Alaska, or may be remote.

Research ProjectThe USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW) is offering a fellowship in Forest Ecology that will be filled at the post-Master’s or post-Doctoral levels. The Fellow will contribute to research being conducted on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, located at the northern end of the world’s largest temperate rainforest. The fellow will select amongst a wide range of basic and applied research questions depending on expertise and interests, including implications of climate change on forests, forest development and disturbance regimes, second growth and old growth management, wild foods and cultural materials harvest, and plant community ecology. The Fellow will collaborate and support science delivery as part of a team of government researchers, postdocs, and land managers investigating forest management on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The goal of the team is to promote collaboration across disciplines and produce basic and applied research products that will support forest planning and sustainable land management in Southeast Alaska.

Learning Objectives

  • Enhance research, writing, and communication skills via authorship of peer review manuscripts, reports, and information sharing through delivery of web content, presentations, and webinars to regional and national audiences.
  • Develop leadership, collaboration, and project management skills as a member of an interdisciplinary co-production team composed of scientists and land managers.
  • Improve understanding of how forest resources and ecosystem services vary with forest ecosystem dynamics and silviculture.
  • Gain experience analyzing long-term datasets with repeated measurements and translating quantitative results into products that enhance forest management and planning.
  • Gain knowledge about the information needs pertinent to planning, monitoring, and management of natural resources with an emphasis on National Forests and Grasslands.

The fellow will be mentored by a vibrant multi-disciplinary team and benefit from exposure to the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, Tongass National Forest, and other Forest Service divisions. The fellow may explore professional development and training opportunities including travel to meetings, workshops, and conferences.

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Kellen Nelson ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2024 or sooner.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years, but could be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds. 

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with education and experience. The current stipend range for this opportunity is $60,000 - $80,000 per year plus a health insurance allowance, travel/training allowance, and $5,000 for relocation costs to Juneau, Alaska. Relocation expenses will be used for the fellow to travel to Southeast Alaska if a remote duty station is selected.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Knowledge related to forest, plant, and/or vegetation sciences, including forest succession dynamics and the effects of forest management at tree, stand, and landscape scales.
  • Interest and/or experience in leveraging applied forest ecology knowledge for scientific and natural resource management, planning, and monitoring applications
  • Strong written/verbal communications skills, including preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication and ability to present technical information to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • A collegial and collaborative style with experience collaborating as part of a multi-disciplinary team to achieve mutual objectives.
  • Strong research, data management, analysis, and statistical skills.
  • Experience using R, Python, SQL, or similar coding languages to manipulate and analyze tabular data.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences 
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences 
    • Mathematics and Statistics 
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences 
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).

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