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Sam Cushman receives 2018 Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award

Posted date: April 10, 2018

Landscape ecologists recognize contribution to development of tools that advance the field

Samuel Cushman has been honored with the 2018 Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award by the United States Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE). This honor is bestowed to individuals who have made outstanding contributions over a period of years to the application of the principles of landscape ecology to real-world problems. 

Dr. Cushman is a Research Landscape Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS). He is the Team Leader for the RMRS Landscape Ecology Working Group and Director of the RMRS Center for Landscape Science. His work as a practitioner includes advancing the field of landscape genetics through the development of computer simulations to model gene flow and population connectivity in heterogenous landscapes. He has contributed to other software developments that have helped to advance landscape ecology, including FRAGSTATS, CDPOP and RMLands, and has provided analytical support for organizations seeking to make use of these tools. In addition, he is a prolific author, with more than 160 peer-reviewed publications.

In addition to his expertise in tool development, Dr. Cushman is recognized for his contributions to real-world conservation projects in North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. He has dedicated large amounts of time to outreach and education, to help spread the use of novel tools and best practices to forest managers within the USDA Forest Service as part of the National Advanced Silviculture Program, and to managers and scientists around the world. He has hosted more than 10 visiting scientists from around the world for visits lasting from three months to a full year, which has enabled them to receive advanced training in landscape ecology and foster international collaborations and conservation initiatives. 

Dr. Samuel Cushman
Dr. Samuel Cushman
His principal nominator, Dr. Kevin McGarigal said, “Sam has been a phenomenal ambassador for landscape ecology." A colleague at Oxford University, Dr. David Macdonald, who worked with Dr. Cushman on a variety of projects in Africa and Asia highlights that in addition to his technical proficiencies, he “has become increasingly dedicated and effective at leading multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative conservation and management applications. He has unusual strengths in team building, strategic thinking, problem solving, and multi-disciplinary collaboration. He is passionately dedicated to bridging the growing void between academic science and societal understanding.”

Dr. Cushman will receive the award, along with Dr. James “Jim” Wickham, of the US Environmental Protection Agency at the US-IALE meeting in Chicago, IL, in April 2018.

The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is one of seven units within the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development. RMRS maintains 14 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing parts of the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains. RMRS also administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges and watersheds and maintains long-term research databases for these areas. While anchored in the geography of the West our research is global in scale. To find out more about the RMRS go to You can also follow us on Twitter at




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RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Forest and Woodland Ecosystems
National; International
Jennifer Hayes
Public Affairs Specialist