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Research Economist or Research Forester

USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
North Carolina
Location Detail:
Research Triangle Park (Durham)
Job Description:

The Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit (SRS-4804) is recruiting a permanent Research Economist or Research Forester in the area of forest business and conservation finance.

The incumbent will lead and collaborate in research and development activities. The incumbent has broad latitude to identify research topics and implement studies, and is expected to be a productive, self-directed participant in multidisciplinary, team-oriented research projects. Research studies will provide opportunities to collaborate with scientists in various organizations including government, academia, non-profits, and industry. Research may span any of the four Problem Areas described above, but the focus is expected to be in (2) forest policies, programs and taxes and (4) forest ecosystem service economics and policy.

Examples of research opportunities in the area of forest policies, programs and taxes include:

(1) compare programs, markets, policies, regulations, and taxes across programmatic and administrative boundaries;

(2) quantify how emerging markets, incentives, or tax provisions at the local, state, and national level affect forest management and the income earned by forestland owners;

(3) identify and measure how policies and programs affect land use choices, forest management, and forest land ownership;

(4) understand how organizations, ranging from family forest owners, to timber investment management organizations (TIMOs), to environmental non-profits, to large public land-use agencies, make and implement decisions; and

(5) describe how organizational structure and history impacts on-the-ground decisions.

Examples in the area of forest ecosystem service economics and policy include:

(1) explore markets and payment mechanisms for production of forest-based ecosystem services such as carbon, water, and hazardous fuels management;

(2) compare business and investment opportunities and legal implications; and

(3) measure effects of alternative policies affecting the quantity and quality of ecosystem goods and services produced by forests, at varying spatial scales.


Applicants must meet minimum educational and/or experiential qualifications for the Economist (0110) or Forester (0460) series, with the accompanying Professional and Scientific Group Standard at the GS-12 level.

Current U.S. Citizenship is required.

Although the position requires meeting minimum qualifications to be classified as a Research Economist or Research Forester, additional education or experience relevant to public administration, organizational science/theory, business law and administration, finance and accounting, or other relevant fields will be viewed positively. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.


The Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit operates within the Center for Forest Assessment and Synthesis of the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station. The Unit explores four problem areas:

(1) the economics of forest-based natural disturbances;

(2) forest policies, programs and taxes;

(3) forest products markets and trade; and

(4) forest ecosystem service economics and policy.

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. It 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; several major medical centers/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.

$82,601/yr to $107,385/yr

Standard federal benefits

How to Apply:

The application portal on USA Jobs opens Tuesday, May 24, 2022, and will stay open through Monday, June 27, 2022.

To view more information on the position and to apply, please visit this link:   

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