US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Mathew Smidt

Research Forester/Engineer
521 Devall Drive
United States

Phone: 334-826-8700 x122
Contact Mathew Smidt

Current Research

Research on system innovations in forest operations are directed toward improving performance and reducing cost.  In some cases performance and cost improvements are coincident, like in timber harvests. In other situations like biomass fuel treatments achieving the best possible result given the economic constraint is the objective. While we often focus on machines and methods in forest operations research, the human as source of manual labor or as a machine operator is the most critical component of system performance.  As a research focus the concerns are for safety and health at work, controls and interfaces than enhance system performance, training systems that help capture system potential, and redesign of systems and jobs that address a future workforce.

Why This Research is Important

Efficient forest operations are the key to achieving both landowner and public objectives in forest management.  Innovation helps to expand the range of possible operations producing greater public benefits.


  • Auburn University, Certificate Occupational Safety and Ergonomics 2020
  • University of Minnesota, Phd Forest Operations 1996
  • Duke University, MF Forest Management 1989
  • Doane College, Bs Biology 1987

Professional Experience

  • Professor and Extension Specialist, Auburn University
    2000 - 2019
    Dr Smidt developed and supported the statewide logger education and training program for Alabama and conducted a variety of applied research on logging safety, productivity, cost, and transportation
  • Assistant Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
    1997 - 2000
    As the timber harvesting specialist Dr. Smidt contributed the the statewide logger education program and conducted applied research in logging productivity and the environmental impacts of logging.

Professional Organizations

  • National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), Forestry Sector Chair 2012-2017 (2007 - Current)
    Contributed to the AgFF agenda for the second and third decades of NORA
  • Council of Forest Engineering (1997 - Current)
    Executive committee for annual meeting in 2002 and 2010
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF) (1998 - 2018)
    War Eagle Chapter Chair, Alabama Continuing Ed Coordinator, Southeastern Chair, Committee on Forest Technology School Accreditation

Awards & Recognition

  • SAF Fellow, 2016
  • FRA Southcentral Region Technical Writing Award, 2016
  • SESAF Public Education and Technology Transfer Award, 2008

Featured Publications & Products


Citations of non US Forest Service Publications

  • Granzow R, Schall M, Smidt M, Chen H, Fethke N, Huangfu R. 2018. Characterizing exposure to physical risk factors among reforestation hand planters in the Southeastern United States. Applied Ergonomics 66:1-8.

    Jernigan P, Gallagher T, Mitchell D, Smidt M, Teeter L. 2016. High tonnage harvesting and skidding for loblolly pine energy plantations. Forest Products Journal 66(3):185-191.

    Lynch S, Smidt MF, Merrill P, Sesek R. 2014. Incidence of MSDs and neck and back pain among logging machine operators in the Southern U.S. Journal of Ag Safety and Health 20(3):211-218.

    South DB, Smidt M. 2014. Pine, in Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems (ed D.L. Karlen), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.

    Xu Y, Smidt MF, Zhang Y. 2014. Logging worker wage, performance, and experience. Forest Products Journal 64(5):210-216.

    Smidt MF, Zhang Y, Zheng B. 2012. Financial assessment of logging residue collection in the southeast United States. Forest Products Journal 62(1):10-17.

    Smidt MF, McDaniel J. 2012. Utilization, cost, and landowner return from whole-tree chipping young loblolly pine thinnings. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 33(2):211-223.

Last updated on : 09/01/2021