Peter F. Kolb is the Montana State University Extension Forestry Specialist and an Associate Professor of Forest Ecology & Management, housed at the University of Montana in the Department of Forest Management. He will assist with the NARA Extension Working Group by providing information about theNARA program and research updates to Montana stakeholders including industry, logging and landowner professional organizations and conferences. In addition he will produce and publish brochures, popular articles and guidelines for these groups as well as assist with the scoping process and development ofNARA Communities.
For the past 23 years Kolb has studied forest ecosystem function and dynamics with specific interest in the role of disturbance processes across Idaho and Montana. Specific research emphasis have included the effects of heat, water stress and grass competition on conifer seedling establishment, the role of soil characteristics, forest pests, pathogens and wildfire on forest species and succession dynamics, the impacts of forest thinning on root diseases, woody debris treatments and their effects on forest and range restoration, cultural practices to enhance woody debris decomposition, and plant community recovery following wildfires and salvage logging. During the past 10 years he has worked extensively with private forest landowners and managers on forest assessment and management plan development, silvicultural alternatives, wildfire hazard reduction, and post-wildfire rehabilitation. He also directs the Montana natural Resources Youth Camp and works with farmers and ranchers across central and eastern Montana on planning, establishing and maintaining windbreaks and shelterbelts. His past work experience includes time as an inventory forester for the Wisconsin DNR, an assistant tree nursery manager for Champion International, a fire lookout/fire fighter for the USDA Forest Service and an applied forester for Boise Cascade.
“My major professional goal is to help quantify how physical and biological processes work across western forest landscapes, and to develop applied management practices that conserve and work within those processes for human benefit. Having grown up on a rural forested Wisconsin farm, I have a strong respect and love for wildlife and wild places. As a woodworker I consider wood a marvelous and ultimate renewable resource. As human populations and their resource needs increase there is a critical responsibility to learn how to sustainably manage our natural resources for everybody’s benefit while also protecting the inherent natural components that make landscapes and their wild inhabitants special.”