Scientists & Staff

Mike Dockry

Mike Dockry

Research Forester
1992 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55108-1034
Phone: 651-649-5163

Contact Mike Dockry

Current Research

My research is focused on developing tools and methods to support forest and natural resource planning and management that incorporates multiple uses, goals, and perspectives from broad segments of society. Forestry and natural resource management is inherently complex and incorporates ecology, social sciences, history, and culture. I accomplish this by working with an interdisciplinary research team, the Strategic Foresight and Rapid Response Group. We are developing a horizon scanning system that systematically compiles and analyzes trends, technologies, and events that could impact forest management in the future. Horizon scanning has been used by the US military and major corporations for decades but is only recently being used in the natural resource sector. Our horizon scanning system will be used by natural resource leaders to ensure they are prepared for an unpredictable future. For example, wood-based nano materials have the potential to transform the forest products industry and our work can be used to devise strategies for long-term productive, efficient, and sustainable management. I am also engaged in research in South America to understand trends and stakeholder perceptions of voluntary forestry certification to improve market-based mechanisms that support sustainable forest management.


I also conduct research to support collaboration among the US Forest Service and tribal nations. We have developed a template for conducting and analyzing forest inventories that incorporates tribal needs and perspectives. I have also worked directly with tribes in the Lake States to incorporate scenario planning into their natural resource management to help ensure it is responsive to changes in ecological processes. Finally, I am an Associate Editor of the Journal of Forestry where we are compiling a special issue focused on tribal forest management.

Bengston, David N.; Dockry, Michael J.; Shifley, Stephen R. 2017. Anticipating cascading change in forests: Seeking a deeper understanding of the future. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 2-9. Bengston, David N.; Dator, Jim; Dockry, Michael J.; Yee, Aubrey. 2016. Alternative futures for forest-based nanomaterials: an application of the Manoa School's alternative futures method. World Future Review. 8(3). http://dx/ 25 p. Moser, W. Keith; Hansen, Mark H.; Gormanson, Dale; Gilbert, Jonathan; Wrobel, Alexandra; Emery, Marla R.; Dockry, Michael J. 2015. Paper birch (Wiigwaas) of the Lake States, 1980-2010. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-149. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 37 p. Emery, Marla R.; Wrobel, Alexandra; Hansen, Mark H.; Dockry, Michael; Moser, W. Keith; Stark, Kekek Jason; Gilbert, Jonathan H. 2014. Using traditional ecological knowledge as a basis for targeted forest inventory: paper birch (Betula papyrifera) in the US Great Lakes Region. Journal of Forestry 112(2): 207-214. Espinoza, Omar; Dockry, Michael J. 2014. Forest certification in Bolivia: A status report and analysis of stakeholder perspectives. Forest Products Journal. 64(3-4): 80-89.

Research Interests

My broad research interests include: interdisciplinary research methods; strategic foresight; social, community, and indigenous forestry; human dimensions; ecology; traditional ecological knowledge/indigenous knowledge; forest management; sustainability and sustainable development; environmental history; land tenure; public participation and natural resource planning; and human environment interactions.

Dockry, Michael J.; Hall, Katherine; Van Lopik, William; Caldwell, Christopher M. 2015. Sustainable development education, practice, and research: an indigenous model of sustainable development at the College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, WI, USA. Sustainability Science. doi: 10.1007/s11625-015-0304-x. Dockry, Michael J. 2015. Enhancing institutions and research through human diversity: reflections on diversity, inclusion, and the future of plant and natural resource sciences. Plant Science Bulletin. 61(2): 35-40.

Past Research

My past research has included understanding indigenous concepts of sustainability and sustainable forest management, collaborative natural resource planning, and forestry certification in Bolivia. My PhD dissertation explored how an indigenous community in lowland Bolivia and the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin use forestry to control their territories, maintain their forests, and sustain their cultures. My MS work used dendrochronology methods to understand historical disturbance dynamics in old-growth oak forests in the Eastern United States and ecophysiology studies to understand tree adaptation to drought in central Pennsylvania.

Dockry, Michael J.; Hall, Katherine; Van Lopik, William; Caldwell, Christopher M. 2015. Sustainable development education, practice, and research: an indigenous model of sustainable development at the College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, WI, USA. Sustainability Science. doi: 10.1007/s11625-015-0304-x.

Why This Research is Important

My research is important because natural resource decisions depend on understanding changing social and ecological relationships. My research supports forest management decisions on National Forests and beyond by providing information about: multiple perspectives and stakeholder goals; human and environmental changes through time and possible future changes; and current natural resource issues like potential impacts of invasive species, drought, flooding and seasonal shifts in temperature, precipitation, and species. Finally, my research is important because it often integrates indigenous knowledge with western social and ecological sciences. Integrating these knowledge systems allows for innovation in both research and natural resource management.

Dockry, Michael J. 2015. Looking back to move forward: collaborative planning to revise the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests land and resource management plans. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies. 2(1): Article 5. Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Moser, W. Keith; Hansen, Mark H.; Gormanson, Dale D.; Hatfield, Mark A.; Sowers, Paul A.; Dockry, Michael J.; Emery, Marla R.; Woodall, Christopher W.; Walters, Brian F.; Domke, Grant M.; Gilbert, Jonathan; Wrobel, Alexandra. 2015. Forest resources within the Lake States ceded territories 1980 - 2013. Resour. Bull. NRS-96. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 89 p. [CD-ROM included].


  • University of Wisconsin Madison, Ph.D. Forestry with a Geography Minor and a Certificate in "Indigenous Landscapes" from the Gaylord Nelson Institute's Center for Culture, History, and Environment, 2012
  • Pennsylvania State University, M.S. Forest Resources (Forest Ecology and Ecophysiology), 1996
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, B.S. Forest Science with a Certificate in Environmental Studies, 1994

Professional Experience

  • Research Forester, Northern Research Station 2013 - Current
  • US Forest Service Liaison to the College of Menominee Nation, Forest Products Laboratory, Northern Research Station, Northeast Area State and Private Forestry, and the Eastern Region (R9) 2005 - 2013
  • Assistant Forest Planner, Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests 2001 - 2005
  • Natural Resource Manager & Environmental Educator, United States Peace Corps Volunteer, Bolivia 1997 - 2000
  • Environmental Planning Intern, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin 1996 - 1996
  • Research and Teaching Assistant, School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University 1994 - 1996
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, University of Wisconsin Madison 1992 - 1994

Professional Organizations

  • Usgs Northeast Climate Science Center (2014 - Current)
  • Intertribal Timber Council (2012 - Current)
  • American Society Of Environmental History (2011 - Current)
  • Edward Bouchet Graduate Honor Society - Yale University & University Wisconsin Madison (2010 - Current)
  • Land Tenure Center - University Of Wisconsin (2008 - Current)
  • American Indian Science And Engineering Society (2006 - Current)
  • Forest History Society (2006 - Current)
  • Ecological Society of America (2006 - 2015)
  • Center For Culture, History And Environment - University Of Wisconsin (2012 - 2014)

Awards & Recognition

  • Most Promising Scientist - American Indian Science and Engineering Society, 2016

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Other Publications

  • Michael J. Dockry. 2016. Book Review: American Indians and National Forests. By Theodore Catton. Foreword by Joel D. Holtrop. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016. x + 374 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95; ebook. Western Historical Quarterly. DOI: 10.1177/1946756716659650. (Invited Review)

    Forest Service Research and Development tribal engagement roadmap. Farley, C., Ellersick, T., and Jasper, C. (eds). FS-1043. Mar. 2015. [Core team member/Co-author].

    Sample, V.A., Birdsey, R.A., Houghton, R.A., Swanston, C., Hollinger, D., Dockry, M. 2015. Forest carbon conservation and management: integration with sustainable forest management for multiple resource values and ecosystem services. Accessed 5-11-2015 at

    USDA Forest Service: Tribal Relations Strategic Framework for the Eastern Region, Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, and Northern Research Station-2015. [Core team member/Co-author].

    Whyte, K.P., M. Dockry, W. Baule, D. Fellman, 2014. Supporting tribal climate change adaptation planning through community participatory strategic foresight scenario development. In Project Reports. D. Brown, W. Baule, L. Briley, and E. Gibbons, (eds.). Great Lakes Science and Assessments Center.

National Research Highlights

Moquah Barrens, a
restored pine barrens ecosystem in Northwest Wisconsin

Landowner Acceptance of a Pine Barrens Restoration Project

Year: 2018

Despite landowners’ uncertainty about long-term outcomes near a pine barrens restoration project on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, they support management actions and trust USDA Forest Service staff.

Urban native youth environmental education

Year: 2017

Lacrosse is a traditional sport that has been played by American Indian tribes for thousands of years. The impact of emerald ash borer on ash trees and reduction in availability of ash wood used to make lacrosse sticks served as a framework for an environmental education opportunity for urban native youth in the Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Club.

Tribal forestry provides innovations for sustainable forest management

Year: 2017

Tribal forestry is seen by many as a model for sustainability that can be used to improve the management of all forests. A recent effort by scientists to compile the knowledge underlying tribal forestry practices resulted in a double issue of the Journal of Forestry. The issue featured 25 articles explaining tribal forestry innovations, silviculture treatments, cultural keystone species management, partnerships and collaboration, and education.

Nanocellulose facility at the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Alternative Futures for Wood-based Nanomaterials

Year: 2016

Forest products researchers are exploring the potential of nano-products from wood. Possible uses of these renewable products could include high-end compostable electronics, paint-on solar panels, strong and lightweight materials for airplanes and cars, and hundreds of other uses. This research explored the possible transformative implications of wood-based nanomaterials on forestry, forest products, and society.

Paper birch trees with evidence of bark harvesting. USDA Forest Service

Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into Natural Resource Inventories and Management of Paper Birch Trees

Year: 2015

The “Paper Birch in the Great Lakes” project is a collaborative effort to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into research and natural resource management. The paper birch resource in the Great Lakes has decreased steadily since 1980. Forest Service scientists are working to provide a model for future targeted inventory efforts; an example of how to build successful partnerships incorporating TEK into natural resource science and management; and information to develop strategies for managing paper birch in the Great Lakes.

Contemplating the future of forests, Illinois, USA. International Society of Arboriculture

Scientists Examine the Future of Forests in the Anthropocene

Year: 2014

Forest Service researchers analyzed the major issues and factors affecting forests in the decades ahead: deforestation, mega-fires, urban forests and growing urban populations, the end of wilderness, and water. Potential "game changers" for forest ecosystems include bioenergy and wood-based nanomaterials, synthetic biology, and runaway climate change. Developing the necessary foresight and tackling these issues now is needed to pass on the legacy of a healthy natural world.

Last modified: Tuesday, April 18, 2017