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How to Apply

To apply, please submit the following as a single PDF file via the University of Michigan Careers posting. Please also submit the following to

  • Cover letter describing your relevant experience and scholarly interests
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Contact information (phone, email) for at least three references
  • Up to three relevant publications. Both peer-reviewed and public-facing reports/articles are welcome.

Review of applications will begin July 17, 2021 and continue until the position is filled.

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Summary

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Forest Ecology

Kathy and Steve Berman Western Forest and Fire Initiative

School for Environment and Sustainability

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The Western Forest and Fire Initiative (WFFI), based at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, invites applications for a one-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Forest Ecology. The successful candidate will join a transdisciplinary working group organized to understand and develop strategies to manage forests and human communities in the western U.S. as an integrated social-environmental system.

In this position, the forest ecology fellow will conduct a new analysis of existing research and expertise that addresses a climate-driven challenge confronting Western forests and communities. The exact challenge and analytical approach will be identified and developed by the postdoctoral fellow in collaboration with practitioners and experts convened through the WFFI. For example, research may potentially address: 1) Ecosystem implications of forest structure as modified by climate impacts and land use legacies; 2) Effectiveness of forest restoration treatments for climate and/or fire resilience; or 3) Post-fire regeneration and vegetation change in forested landscapes modified by changing climate and/or management practices.  In order to maximize accessibility of the work, expected products may include both scientific literature and broader engagement.  

  • Start date: September 1, 2021 (flexible)
  • Term: One year, 1.00 FTE
  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan (flexible due to COVID-19)
  • Salary: $53,000 (benefits eligible)           
  • Institution: University of Michigan


The postdoctoral researcher will work as part of the Western Forest and Fire Initiative (WFFI) at the University of Michigan, a project made possible with support from Kathy and Steve Berman. The WFFI is a transdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows from the fields of ecology, engineering, economics, policy and planning, and behavioral sciences. The overarching goal of the WFFI is to improve society’s ability to mitigate the risks of damaging wildfires, exacerbated by climate change, to western forests and communities in forested areas. The WFFI aims to serve as a research hub and a bridging organization, working closely with practitioners and other researchers in the US West to identify research questions and undertake intensive problem analyses to answer those questions. The WFFI will pursue four main objectives:

  1. Improve scientific understanding of fire-prone forests and communities as a social-ecological system, and how to manage forests and communities as such under changing climate conditions.
  2. Support the network of west-wide stakeholders in communicating and coordinating their programmatic and policy efforts around forest management, fire risk, community socio-economic development, and climate change. 
  3. Build the capacity of future scholars to work on fire-prone forest and community issues in the West from a complex adaptive systems perspective.
  4. Create a robust agenda and set of strategies for policy and management changes.

Participating Principal Investigators include Paige Fischer, Steve Yaffee, Stella Cousins, Michael Craig, and others. For more information, visit the WFFI website at

Required Qualifications*

Qualifications: Ideal applicants will be interdisciplinary scholars with a PhD in forest ecology, environmental science, landscape ecology, fire science, or a related field. Working familiarity with forest ecosystems and environmental management challenges in the Western United States is highly desirable. Other helpful training and skills include:

  • Familiarity with forest, wildfire, climate change, and/or community socio-economic issues
  • Skills and experience using modern statistical approaches, GIS, and/or scientific programming to analyze ecological and environmental data.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct analysis as part of a multi- or trans-disciplinary team
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.