About the Northern Research Station

About NRS

Director: Tony Ferguson

Deputy Director: Lon Yeary

Assistant Directors for Research: Ralph Crawford and Elizabeth Larry

Assistant Director for Planning and Applications: Terry Gross

Assistant Director of Communication and Science Delivery: Gina Jorgensen

Assistant Director of Business Operations: Vacant


Research Work Units: 14
Locations: 24
Employees: 402

Forest Service Strategic Plan

thumbnail image of cover of Forest Service Strategic PlanA plan that embodies our commitment to SUSTAIN our nation’s forests and grasslands, DELIVER benefits to the public, APPLY knowledge globally, and EXCEL as a high-performing agency. These are the principles by which we will act and operate as we continue to guide this organization for today’s and future generations.

Meet Our Director!

Photo of Northern Research Station Director Tony FergusonOn Jan. 4, 2016, Tony Ferguson became Director for both the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. Ferguson replaces Michael Rains, who served as the Station’s first Director and served as Director of both the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory since 2012.

Ferguson has been with the Forest Service since February 2006. Most recently, he served as the director of the Forest Service’s Northeastern Area – State and Private Forestry. Prior to his selection as Area Director, he was the Director of Minerals and Geology Management in the Forest Service’s Washington, D.C. office. He has also served as the Acting Director of Lands and Realty as well as the Deputy Regional Forester for the Alaska Region.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to serve as the Director for the Northern Research Station and Forest Products Laboratory,” Ferguson said. “Both Units have an excellent reputation for cutting-edge research and improving people’s lives. I’m eager to learn about the remarkable conservation efforts being made by NRS and FPL. They are making a difference for the next generation and promoting conservation for the next century.”

Meet the Northern Research Station

The Northern Research Station’s science is complex, but the need for the research is simple. Land managers, city planners, and policy-makers need sound science on all aspects of the natural world and its complex connections with people to achieve decisions resulting in a healthy and sustainable future for present and future generations of Americans. In a region extending from Maine to Minnesota and from Missouri to Maryland, Northern Research Station science aims to understand all of the elements of forests and related landscapes. Part of the Forest Service Research and Development program, the Northern Research Station is one of seven Forest Service research units conducting research with in all 50 States as well as in U.S. territories and commonwealths.

Northern Research Station scientists reach these audiences in a variety of ways, including:

  • Publishing in peer-reviewed journals and Station General Technical Reports; approximately 12,000 publications authored or co-authored by Northern Research Station scientists.
  • The Station develops web-based tools that deliver sound, peer-reviewed science in a format that is convenient for land managers and others.

The Station manages 22 of the 80 experimental forests that are part of the Forest Service Experimental Forest Network; most of these long-term research sites lie within National Forests. The ability to conduct scientific research in-house, to apply research findings on National Forest System lands, and to transfer these findings to others for use on all of the nation’s forest land sets the Forest Service apart as a natural resource agency.

Science at the Northern Research Station follows five themes:

  • Forest Disturbance Processes: Station scientists are researching a variety of disturbance factors in order to understand them better and to develop control or mitigation methods.
  • Urban Natural Resources Stewardship: Station scientists work to increase understanding of urban forests and to develop scientific and management tools that can improve the quality of life for urban dwellers through natural resources stewardship.
  • Sustaining Forests: Maintaining sustainability requires knowledge of how forest ecosystems work and how changing climate and human influences are affecting them. Studies by Station scientists help to gain that knowledge.
  • Providing Clean Air and Water: Station scientists develop land management tools to protect forests and their production of clean water and air for the growing population as well as studying the processes by which these benefits occur.
  • Natural Resources Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment: The scalable system of inventory and monitoring activities allows Station scientists to establish baselines, track change, quantify threats, demonstrate effectiveness, prioritize research efforts, and understand natural resources, and the policies, practices, and processes that impact them.

Last modified: May 16, 2018