Scientists & Staff

Ralph Crawford

Assistant Director for Research
600 E. Mermaid Lane
Wyndmoor, PA, 19038
Phone: 215-233-6614

Contact Ralph Crawford

Current Research

I am currently the Assistant Station Director for Research with the Northern Research Station within the USDA Forest Service Research and Development Deputy Area. I provide strategic science directions and oversight for several Research Work Unit. I have served as the Acting Associate Deputy Chief for Forest Service Research and Development and have also served as the Staff Director for Range Management; both are SES positions. Also, I have served as the Assistant Director for Forest Health and Economics for the Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, which covers the twenty northern States and the District of Columbia. I have also provided national leadership in linking belowground ecosystem dynamics for forest and grassland conditions and the network of FS Experimental Forests and Ranges. I have significant experience with leading national government wide standards development and environmental science programs. I have earned diverse science and community awards and have published research papers in major national and international peer reviewed scientific journals. I hold a Doctorate in Plant and Soil Science, and have completed training at the Federal Executive Institute and the Federal Senior Executive Fellows at Harvard University.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on ecosystem functions that are impacted by biotic and abotic disturbances

Past Research

As a scientist in the Pacific Northwest Research Station, I focused on the above and belowground microbial community associations of plants and coarse woody debris materials, biological control of root rot pathogens

As a scientist in the Northern Research Station, I focused on the foliar fungal endophytes of Acers spp. as indicators of changes in forest health

Why This Research is Important

The research areas and products are important tools for use in  land managers decision making processes.


  • Federal Execuitve Institue, Certificate Of Completion Leadership for a Democratice Society, 2009
  • Harvard School of Government, Certificate Of Completion Federal Senior Executive Training, 2006
  • Alabama A&M University, Normal, Alabama, Ph.D. Plant And Soil Science Belowground Ecosystem Dynamics of Microbial Communities of Southwest Oregon Forest, 1995
  • Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, M.S. Biology/Plant Pathology Foliar Endophytic Communities of Central Oregon Shrubs, 1983
  • Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina, B.S. Biology Biology, 1979

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Director For Forest Health and Economics, USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry 2013 - 2018
  • Acting Associate Deputy Chief, USDA Forest Service Research and Development 2015 - 2016
  • National Program Leader for Rangeland Ecology Research, USDA Forest Service, Research and Development, Washington, DC 2003 - 2012
  • USDA Agricultural Liaison Officer, Delaware State University, Dover Delaware, Delaware State University 1998 - 2003
  • Research Plant Pathologist, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Hamden, Connecticut 1996 - 1998
  • Research Plant Pathologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, Oregon 1993 - 1996
  • Plant Pathologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, Oregon 1984 - 1993
  • Biology Instructor, Clark College 1981 - 1984

Professional Organizations

  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society (2012 - Current)
  • Urban League Black Executive Exchange Program (2006 - 2015)
    Federal Employee Academic Service
    Lecture and mentor students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Ecological Society of America (2003 - 2013)
    Vegetation Panel
    Represented the federal government interests with developing vegetation classification standards.
  • Society for Range Management (2003 - 2013)

Awards & Recognition

  • Chief's Honor Awards, 2017 Chief's Honor Awards 2017: Honorable Mention — New York Southern Pine Beetle Management Team
  • R9 Healthy Forest and Grassland Award, 2017 Recognition of the New York Southern Pine Beetle Management Team and rapid mitigation of SPB expansion into northeastern forests including wildland urban interface areas
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee Letter of Commendation, 2008 Provided leadership for establishing the FGDC National Vegetation Classification Standard
  • Obie Patterson Award , 1995 Dedication, contribution and professionalism in representing African-American males in the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Multicultural Award USDA Forest Service, 1993 Presented in recognition of outstanding contributions toward achieving a diverse workforce.

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

  • Hayes, D.C.; Stout, S.L.; Crawford, R.H.; Hoover, A.P. 2014. Editors' foreword. In: Hayes, D.C.; Stout, S.L.; Crawford, R.H.; Hoover, A.P., eds. USDA Forest Service experimental forests and ranges research for the long term. New York, NY: Springer: vi-ix.
Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2019