Michael Jacobson, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Forest Resources
  • Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management Program
  • Extension Specialist
Michael Jacobson, Ph.D.
309 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-865-3994
Fax: 814-865-6275

Areas of Expertise

  • Bioenergy
  • Agroforestry
  • Forest Economics and Finance
  • International Forestry
  • Forest Extension
  • Non Timber Forest Products


  1. B.A., University of Connecticut (1984)
  2. M.E.M, Duke University (1990)
  3. Ph.D., North Carolina State University (1997)

Michael Jacobson is a professor of Forest Resources at Penn State's Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. He has extension, teaching and research appointments. In addition, he was appointed an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 2007.

Between earning degrees, Michael has worked on international forest policy and economics at the World Bank, USDA International Forestry, and Tropical Forest Foundation. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho from 1986-1988. Countries he has worked in include South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Costa Rica.

He has over 70 extension and research publications. As part of his extension work he develops programs in forest taxation and finance, agroforestry, bioenergy, and natural gas.  He is currently associate editor of Agroforestry Systems.

Michael was born in South Africa and raised there until emigrating to Connecticut in 1977. He is married to Linda Nodine Jacobson and has two daughters.


Academic Interests:

Bioenergy; sustainable forestry; forest economics, finance, policy, and taxes; agroforestry and non timber forest products; gas taxation, forest certification and incentive programs; private forestry; and international forestry.

Courses taught:

Forest Conservation and Economics FOR 440

Agroforestry FOR 418

Global Forest Conservation FOR 488

Professional Affiliation:

Society of American Foresters

Association of Natural Resources of Extension Professionals

Forest History Society

Association for Temperate Agroforestry

International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF)

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Association

Recent Publications:


Woodbury, P., A. Kemanian, M. Jacobson, and M. Langholtz. 2017. Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial bioenergy feedstock production. Biomass and Bioenergy

 Ciolkosz, D., M. Jacobson, N. Heil, W. Brandau. 2017. An assessment of farm scale biomass pelleting in the Northeast. Renewable Energy. 108:85-91

De Stefano A., M. G. Jacobson - Soil carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems: a meta-analysis (Accepted in Agroforestry Systems)

 Bomuhangi A, Nabanoga G, Namaalwa J, Jacobson M and Gombya-Ssembajjwe W (2016). Gendered decision making and adaptation to climate change in Mt. Elgon Region, Eastern Uganda,International Research Journal of Environmental Sciences and Studies, Vol. 1 (1), pp: 1-23

Bomuhangi A, Nabanoga G, Namaalwa J, Jacobson M and Abwoli B (2016). Local communities' perceptions of climate variability in the Mt. Elgon region, Eastern Uganda. Cogent Environmental Science Journal (Forth coming) accepted 16th March 2016 

Frey, G.E., Blatner, K.A., Jacobson, M.G., Downes, C.M.S., Sills, E.O., Mercer, D.E., Alexander, S.J., Chamberlain, J.L., Gold, M.A., Godsey, L.D., Emery, M.R., Coffin, A.W., Barlow, R.J., and Lohr, L. Under Review. Economics of Non-Timber Forest Products in the United States. In:  Chamberlain, J.L, Patel-Weynand, T., and Emery, M.R., eds. US Assessment of Non-Timber Forest Products. Refereed.

 Chamberlain, J.L., Frey, G.E., Ingram, D., Jacobson, M.G., and Downes, C.M.S. Provisioning of Non-Timber Forest Products. In: Sills, E.O. and Mercer, D.E.   Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Southern Forests.

Grebner, D. M. Jacobson, and M. Fayvan. 2014. Forest ecosystem services and the scourge of invasive species. Journal of Forestry 112 (6):620-623

 Jacobson, M. and S. Kar. 2013. Extent of agroforestry extension programs in United States. Journal of Extension. 51 (4)

Jacobson M and D. Ciolkosz (eds). 2013. Wood-Based Energy in the Northern Forests. New York: Springer. 245 pp.

 Langholtz, M. and M. Jacobson. 2013. The economic availability of woody biomass feedstocks in the Northeast. In Jacobson M and D. Ciolkosz (eds). Wood-Based Energy in the Northern Forests. New York: Springer