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Douglas Sheil appointed professor of Forest Ecology & Management

Published on
January 22, 2021

The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed prof. dr. RD (Douglas) Sheil as professor of Forest Ecology and Forest Management as of 1 January 2021.

The Forest Ecology and Forest Management chair group aims to understand the growth of trees and forests in relation to site and climate, and to apply this knowledge in support of sustainable forest management aimed at provision of ecosystem services.

“Forests play a key role in keeping our world pleasant and habitable”, says prof. Sheil, “and these superpowers are often overlooked, undervalued or disputed. The FEM group is strong on teaching and they are doing exciting world-class research on diverse topics. We will sustain and build upon that solid foundation to build a shared vision. I’d like that vision to clarify how forest can and should contribute to a thriving, biodiverse and liveable planet, and we educate the people who can achieve it. There is plenty to explore!”

Prof. Sheil (55) was born in Northern Ireland and raised in the Republic of Ireland. He trained in Natural Sciences (MA, Cambridge) and Forestry (MSc, Oxford) in the UK. After two years in East Africa (IUCN, based in Nairobi, Kenya), he conducted his doctoral "DPhil." research on long-term forest change in Uganda, while employed by the University of Oxford. His postdoctoral experience includes ten years in Indonesia with the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR, 1998-2008) and four years as director of the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda  (2008-2012).

He also spent a year in Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia (2012-2013). Before joining WUR he was a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway (2013-2020). He remains a Senior Associate with CIFOR, in Indonesia.

Prof. Sheil is an ecologist, forester and conservationist. He has broad multidisciplinary interests focused on forests, their biota and the people who depend on them. Most of his research has focused on the tropics.

Prof. Sheil has authored or coauthored over 200 scientific publications, including a widely used book on rain forests (Ghazoul & Sheil Tropical Rain Forests: Ecology Diversity and Conservation. Oxford University Press, 2010). He received the Biotropica Prize for the best research paper 2004 from the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. He was received the Queen’s Award for Forestry in 2015.