Research Economist or Forester, USFS – Research Triangle Park, NC

Research Economist or Research Forester  –  Permanent Full-Time Position  GS-0110-12 or GS-0460-12

USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit, (Research Triangle Park, NC)

RESPOND BY:                 September 11, 2021

RESPOND TO:         /  Dr. Jeffrey P. Prestemon, Project Leader, 919-549-4033

Full alert/outreach notice LINK

The Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit (SRS-4804) is recruiting a permanent Research Economist or Research Forester.  The position will be hired at the GS-12 grade (salary range $80,522/yr to $104,683/yr), including standard Federal benefits. The duty station is the Forestry Sciences Laboratory, in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina.

The Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit’s mission is to advance understanding of how forest-based disturbances and their management affect economic values, how policies influence forestry decision making, how forest product markets behave and are affected by policies and shocks, and how forest-based ecosystem services are produced and valued. The Unit operates within the Center for Forest Assessment and Synthesis of the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.

RTP is located between Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill (the “Research Triangle”). The Research Triangle is a large, rapidly growing metropolitan center with more than 2 million residents and hosts several major universities (including Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), large R&D facilities of several federal agencies and private sector firms in IT, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, major medical centers/medical schools, and the North Carolina state government.

The RTP Forestry Sciences Laboratory has been in existence since 1963 and currently houses researchers and support personnel from four work units in the Southern Research Station: Forest Economics and Policy, Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Forest Genetics and Ecosystems Productivity, and the Center for Integrated Forest Science. In addition, research activities involve resident scientific collaborators from major local universities.


The incumbent will lead and collaborate in research and development activities focused on the economics of forest-based natural disturbances and on forest products markets and trade. Research will provide opportunities to collaborate with multi-disciplinary scientists in various organizations including government, academia, non-profits, and industry.

Research opportunities in the area of forest-based natural disturbances include, but are not limited to: (1) describing optimal mixes of wildfire management interventions; (2) quantifying the market and nonmarket costs of interventions and the market and nonmarket losses associated with forest-based natural disturbances; (3) identifying the production functions of natural disturbances; (4) understanding the values of the human morbidity and mortality related losses from natural disturbances.

Research opportunities in the area of forest product markets and trade include, but are not limited to: (1) quantifying the effects of trade measures (e.g., tariffs, non-tariff barriers, phytosanitary measures, illegal fiber sourcing laws); (2) estimating import, export, and domestic market supply and demand models; (3) projecting and forecasting changes in forest products market variables; (4) identifying the market structure for various goods and services derived from forests, which could potentially include carbon.

This position requires knowledge and/or relevant experience in some or all of: (1) advanced economic theory, including trade theory and production economics, (2) advanced econometrics and/or spatial statistics methods, and (3) natural resource management, including forestry and potentially wildfire management.

The incumbent is expected to be a productive, self-directed participant in multidisciplinary, team-oriented research projects spanning any of the four Problem Areas of focus for the Forest Economics and Policy Work Unit: (1) the economics of forest disturbances, (2) forest policies, programs and taxes; (3) forest products markets and trade; and (4) forest ecosystem services economics and policy.

HOW TO RESPONDTo express interest in this opportunity, please return completed Outreach Response form and resume to Dr. Jeffrey P. Prestemon, at  Those interested will be sent a copy of the announcement with duties, qualifications required, and application instructions.

For more information, contact Dr. Prestemon at 919-549-4033.

Current U.S. Citizenship is required for employment in this position.

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USDA is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

The purpose of this early alert is to maximize diversity of the pool of candidates for this outreach opportunity. USDA prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.