Research Natural Resource Scientist / Research Engineer – USDA Forest Service, Auburn AL

usda fsGS-0401/0801-12/13

Forest Operations Research Work Unit –  Auburn, AL

The Forest Operations Research Unit of the Southern Research Station plans to advertise a vacancy for a permanent, full-time, Research Natural Resource Scientist/Research Engineer position.  The position will be filled at the GS-12 or GS-13 level (salary ranges from $79,363 to $122,683 per year), plus standard Federal benefits.  The duty station is the G. W. Andrews Forestry Sciences Lab in Auburn, AL.  In addition to Forest Operations, the lab houses individuals or teams from the Longleaf Pine Restoration Work Unit; the Utilization of Forest Resources Work Unit; and Forest Inventory and Analysis.  The purpose of this outreach is to inform prospective applicants of a potential upcoming opportunity and to assess the level of interest in the position. 

The Forest Operations Research Unit’s mission is ‘to provide the science and technology necessary for economically and ecologically viable forest operations for sustainable forest management.  The Unit operates under the broader Center for Forest Restoration and Management within the Southern Research Station.  For more information about the research unit, please visit:


The incumbent will lead and collaborate in research and development activities focused on terrestrial, machine-based and airborne sensors as well as remotely sensed data to evaluate forest operations impacts and/or supply chain challenges.  Research opportunities include, but are not limited to: (1) monitoring of machine performance and system performance of forest operations regarding productivity and environmental impacts; and (2) evaluation or development of technology to support precision forestry and advanced forest operations.  Research work will include all aspects of projects from planning and implementation to analysis and publication.  In addition, the incumbent is expected to work with members from the research unit, faculty and researchers from various universities, land managers and private industry personnel.  The incumbent may coordinate with others or work independently to offer technology transfer products such as journal articles, webinars or assist with continuing education courses for forestry professionals and members of the general public. 

This position requires knowledge and/or relevant experience in some or all of the following: (1) application and analysis of sensing technology and data, (2) forestry, forest engineering, agricultural engineering, industrial engineering, or closely related field, (3) forest operations systems, and (4) development of decision-making tools.  The incumbent is expected to be a productive, self-directed participant in multidisciplinary, team-oriented research projects addressing the Unit’s mission. 


The city of Auburn is conveniently located in Lee County in eastern Alabama along the Interstate 85 corridor.  The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is 1.5 hours away and the state capital, Montgomery, is just one hour to the southwest.  The population of Auburn is 76,131.  The city of Opelika (pop. 31,472) is immediately to the east of Auburn, and when the surrounding area is included, the population climbs to over 174,000.  Auburn is home to Auburn University and Opelika is home to Southern Union State Community College with many other colleges and universities within a 50 mile radius.  The Auburn school system is recognized as a trailblazer among public schools, not only in Alabama, but in the US—several of the Auburn schools have received national recognition.  Forbes consistently ranks Auburn on its lists for Best Places to Retire and Best Small Places for Business and Careers.  The area boasts unique dining, a variety of shopping choices, several golf courses, historic sites, and museums.  Residents have access to a number of city parks and recreational programs, as well as 696 scenic acres at Chewacla State Park.  A variety of housing types and prices are available across the area.  Industrial parks within Lee County include businesses such as large distribution centers, vitamin manufacturing, and automotive manufacturing.  East Alabama Medical Center in Auburn serves as the principal source of primary and referral services for the residents of Lee County.  This 340-bed hospital has received awards of excellence and frequently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals when it comes to patient satisfaction.


To express interest in this opportunity, please respond in the outreach database at: by March 7, 2022.  You may also express interest by submitting the Optional Outreach Response Form (attached).  The announcement link will be sent to you when the permanent position opens in  Persons interested in this position are encouraged to contact Dr. Dana Mitchell, Forest Operations Project Leader, by email at: or by phone at: 334-750-0133. 

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USDA is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternate means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotapes, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 or toll free at (844) 433-2774 (voice and TDD), or by email at  


Optional Outreach Response Form

Research Natural Resource Scientist/Research Engineer, GS-0401/0801-12/13

(Only 1 permanent position will be filled)

Duty Station: Auburn, AL


If you are interested in this position, complete this optional form and sent it by email to: Dr. Dana Mitchell, Forest Operations Project Leader,  Responses must be received by March 7, 2022 to automatically receive a link to the vacancy announcement.  







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