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Sam Foster, RMRS Station Director

Welcome from Sam Foster, RMRS Station Director

Welcome to the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station's website. I am very proud of our employees and the work that they do. We are here to serve the American public, and through this website we have provided a host of information that we think will help you understand our natural environment. Our research results help decision makers develop informed choices about the conservation of natural resources. Please explore our website and learn what we have to offer. You will find links to websites for our research programs. The Station's published research is available free of charge through this website.

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About Sam Foster

George "Sam" Foster reported as the new Director of the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station on Jan. 7, 2008.

Dr. Foster oversees the Agency's research and development work conducted by 91 research scientists in the 14-state area of the Interior West with its headquarters in Fort Collins. The Research Station administers research laboratories in Albuquerque, Boise, Bozeman, Flagstaff, Fort Collins, Logan, Missoula, Moscow, Ogden, Rapid City, and Reno.

"Our work has no boundaries," Foster said recently, while briefing his new staff. "Our scientist can collaborate in any corner of the world, and our research results are valued around the world. I'm proud to lead the Research Station where four scientists were recently honored with the group that received the Nobel Peace Prize for climate change research."

"Climate change will play out first and most dramatically in the Interior West," Dr. Foster said. "Drought and invasive species are influencing insect and disease epidemics," he continued, "and our snowpacks are melting earlier resulting in less water during the hottest, driest part of the summer. Our region is known throughout the world for its spiritual, wilderness, and recreation values. The Station has a key role in helping to support those resources and values. Our research program is vital to the future of a healthy nation and world."

Foster's work as a research geneticist took him to 18 foreign countries, and he spent time working for Hilleshog AB Company headquartered in Sweden, providing seeds for planting new forests in China, India, and the United States.

Sam spent three years as the Dean of College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University in Starkville, before moving to Washington, D.C., to oversee the Forest Service's silviculture and genetics research.

Most recently Foster supervised the Forest Service's national Resource Use Science Staff that's responsible for providing Congress and other national leaders with information regarding the interaction between people and forest and range resources. That program provides information and tools to help solve problems in forest products, economics, social sciences, urban forestry, and recreation.

Foster began his research career with the forest products industry, working for Weyerhaeuser, Crown Zellerbach, International Forest Seed Company, and completed projects for the World Bank and Hilleshog AB in Sweden.

He began government service as a Supervisory Research Geneticist with the Forest Service's Southern Research Station in Huntsville, AL, where he was also an adjunct professor in the Plant & Soil Sciences Dept. at Alabama A&M University.

Dr. Foster is internationally known for his work in forest genetics and tree improvement. He's published 75 research articles and book chapters.

At the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Sam administers the largest wildland fire research program in the in the world, headquartered in Missoula, Mont.

"We continue to see bigger and bigger parts of America burned by wildfire," Foster said, "and we need to learn more about the smartest way to respond to fire seasons that start earlier and burn longer."

Foster follows Dave Cleaves who accepted a position as the Forest Service's Associate Deputy Chief for Research & Development in the Agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Sam is a native of Tennessee and earned his Baccalaureate and Master's Degrees at the University of Tennessee. He earned his Doctorate in Forest Genetics and Silviculture from Oregon State University.

Sam attended the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and earned the Senior Executive Service federal service rank in 2005.