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Scientists Brissette, Nislow Named to New Forest Service Leadership Positions

Newtown Square, PA, May 1, 2015 - Two longtime scientists with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station have accepted new leadership positions within the Station. John Brissette, the Project Leader for the Station’s Research Work Unit 07, the Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, since 2006 and a Project Leader in Forest Service research since 1992, has been selected as an assistant director for research. Keith Nislow, a research fisheries biologist in the same research work unit, has been selected to replace Brissette as project leader.

"In addition to expertise in multiple lines of science, both Dr. Brissette and Dr. Nislow are skilled in building partnerships and effectively communicating the Station’s program direction,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. “Their skills as scientists and superb strengths as inclusive leaders make them uniquely qualified for their new positions.”  

As an Assistant Director of Research, Brissette will coordinate the Station’s science units related to forest disturbance processes and providing clean air and water. Brissette started his 35-year career with the Forest Service as a nursery and tree improvement with State and Private Forestry in the southern United States.  Before coming to the Northeast in 1992, he was a research forester with the Southern Forest Experiment Station conducting studies on artificial regeneration of southern pines. As a research forester with the Northeastern and Northern Research Stations, he focused on natural regeneration and early stand dynamics in conifer and mixed conifer-hardwood ecosystems of the Acadian and Great Lakes forest regions.

Nislow, a team leader and research fisheries biologist in Amherst, Mass., has served as the Amherst Director’s Representative for almost 8 years. He began his Forest Service career with the former Northeastern Research Station Wildlife and Fish Habitat Relationships Unit in Amherst in 1999, becoming Acting Project Leader in 2005, then Team Leader within NRS-07 in the Northern Research Station in 2006. His personal research is focused on understanding the effects of multiple sources of ecosystem change on aquatic habitats and fisheries, and translating this understanding into information and support for management and conservation. The Center for Research on Ecosystem Change includes hydrologists, soil scientists, ecologists, wildlife biologists and foresters in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, and is oriented towards bringing interdisciplinary perspectives to complex and large-scale issues in the context of a changing regional environment.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit


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Last modified: May 1, 2015