Stephen C. Grado

B.S. Forest Science, 1979; M.S. Forest Resources and Operations Research, 1984; Ph.D. Forest Resources, 1992

Stephen C. Grado earned a Ph.D. in Forest Resources in 1992, an M.S. in Forest Resources and Operations Research in 1984, and a B.S. in Forest Science in 1979, all at Penn State. He also completed a B.A. in Political Science at Villanova University. He is currently in his 20th year at Mississippi State University (MSU), serving as a full professor in the Department of Forestry and as the George L. Switzer Professor. This latter designation is given to faculty in the Department of Forestry who excel in teaching, research, and service. 

Steve teaches two undergraduate courses—Forestry Recourses Survey and Forest Recreation Management—and a graduate course, Nonmarket Forest Valuation. The latter two courses are also taught via Distance Learning.

As the MSU Department of Forestry’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Chair (1999-present) and Undergraduate Coordinator (2003-present), Steve has taken the lead in addressing the evolving needs of his academic department. In 2007, he was in charge of the Department’s SAF Accreditation review. He is currently engaged in initiating further course development for a new department major titled “Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation,” which officially started in January 2014. Steve was one of the originators of this new major.

Steve has served as mentor to many graduate students including the department’s first Distance Learning M.S. student who graduated in 2013.

Steve’s research has focused primarily on economic contributions of nonmarket valued outputs from forest- and water-related resources in Mississippi. The overall objective of his research program has been to develop viable measures of economic-use values, which characterize nonmarket forest, wildlife, and water-related outputs that are key components of the natural resource base of Mississippi and the southern region. Examples of some topics previously and currently under investigation include 1) wildlife economics, 2) recreation issues, 3) ecosystem services, and 4) urban and community forestry. Steveo has published 63 refereed journal articles and 11 book chapters to date on these topics and he and his co-investigators have received 59 grants with a total value of more than $3.7 million. 

Several of Steve’s research projects have had significant impact on the state of Mississippi. One project of particular interest to the forestry community involved assessing values, attitudes, and perceptions of forest industry constituency groups. Several initiatives stemming directly from this research are making a difference for forestry in Mississippi. For example, the Mississippi Forestry Association’s (MFA) Communications Committee created a license plate called “First in Forestry,” which annually sells or renews to more than 1,000 individuals, organizations, and businesses. Profits from the sale of these license plates are delivered to the MFA Communications Committee and the MFA Foundation for their outreach activities. Each year revenues total more than $22,000. 

Another example is a study of the economic impacts of white-tailed deer hunting in Mississippi. This study is used by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to promote appropriate wildlife management and policies related to the state’s most valuable wildlife resource. A related refereed publication on waterfowl hunting received the distinction of “Outstanding Peer-reviewed Publication” by the Mississippi Chapter of the Wildlife Society. In 2011, Steve was awarded the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Forest Conservationist of the Year Award. 

Steve has been actively involved in professional associations, particularly the Society of American Foresters (SAF), Mississippi Forestry Association, and The Wildlife Society. For SAF, he was the MSU Student Chapter Faculty Representative 1995-2001, and the chapter received numerous awards under his guidance. He has chaired SAF’s Sustainability and Forest Certification Working Group. SAF honors and credentials include SAF Fellow, Certified Forester (#1155), and Forest Certification Auditor.

Steve is a long-time member of the Mississippi Forestry Association, and currently serves on its Communications Committee. He also serves as an Associate Editor for the Wildlife Society Bulletin, and in the past has served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Based on Steve’s overall record of service in the College of Forest Resources (CFR) at MSU and within the natural resources community, he was awarded the CFR’s 2011 Service Award. 

For the past 15 plus years Steve has been a sub-contractor for the Rainforest Alliance, a certifying body for assessing organizations seeking conformance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) US Standard for forest sustainability. Steve is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for Quality Management Systems for Lead Auditors, and is considered to be the Rainforest Alliance’s lead socio-economic auditor for the United States. He has participated in 86 FSC forest management assessments and audits, and many of the same for chain-of-custody certification.

Steve has been married to Renee Matich for over 30 years. She is also a Penn State graduate with B.S. and Master’s degrees in Nutrition. She is currently a full-time instructor at MSU. They have a 23-year-old son, who graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and is currently doing medical-related research there, and a 14-year-old daughter in the 8th grade. Steve’s outside interests include wildlife watching—particularly for birds, photography, anything to do with the railroads, history, travel, and cuisine.