About the Department

The Department of Ecosystem Science and Management is Penn State’s home for the conservation and sustainable management of our natural resources.

We are united by our mission to solve conservation problems by conducting innovative research and training tomorrow’s natural resource leaders.

We closely follow our industry and take the lead with new ideas. We boast state-of-the-art facilities and world-class faculty with years of working experience in their fields.

Student success drives the department. Our undergraduate majors offer hands-on science with real-world applications, excellent internship experiences, and robust scholarship opportunities. Our graduate programs offer master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees rooted in research through our core science and management disciplines.

Research is conducted in the science, technology, and management needed to sustain our natural resources. This critical work is facilitated through the core disciplines of forest health, ecosystem function and service, ecosystem management, and watershed resilience. Research includes the ecology of natural and agricultural ecosystems, wildlife and fisheries sciences, forest sciences, hydrological sciences and soil sciences. Our wide range of disciplines provides opportunities to tackle complex environmental problems in a wide array of ecosystems. It also allows for diverse training for students, citizens, and youth in advanced ecosystem management.

Meet our faculty, staff, and students, and learn more about our academic home. Welcome!

Black Lives Matter

June 2020

The last few weeks we have seen protests across the country and here in State College in response to continued violence faced by Black communities. The awful deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are a reflection of the ongoing costs of systemic racism faced by Black Americans. We as a department have a duty to reflect on the impact this violence has in the day-to-day lives of our colleagues and students in this department, the university, and society at large. We also must reflect on the ways that historic and current discrimination have impacted our own professions and university systems. Now is a time as a department to affirm the message of protests here in State College and across the country, that we believe Black Lives Matter. We must be committed to addressing discrimination where it occurs and strive to be an inclusive and equitable place of work. We see you. We hear you. The continued impacts of racism on the lives of Black Americans are unacceptable.

But words are not enough. It is incumbent upon us in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and the larger Penn State community, to live and act on a commitment to racial equity, both personally and professionally, today and moving forward. Our department strives to be a community of people dedicated to respecting and supporting all of our students, staff, and faculty. Accomplishing this requires being proactive, reflective, empathetic, and vigilant. Together we must stand against injustice and continue to move in a direction towards equity for all, to foster these values in our education, service, and research missions, and to hold each other up as we move forward.


David Eissenstat, Professor and Interim Head

ESM Diversity Committee (David Miller, Melissa Kreye, Allyson Muth, Suzanne Fleishman, Jesse Kreye, Julian Avery, Jon Duncan, Bill Elmendorf, Beth Boyer, Laura Leites)

Penn State Department of Ecosystem Science and Management

ESM Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

President Barron’s Response

Latest News

October 2, 2020

Gender Fellows support research on gender differences in agriculture

A Gender Fellows Cohort, which began last fall under the auspices of the College of Agricultural Sciences' Gender Equity through Agricultural Research and Education initiative, examines gender equity in rural sociology, soil science, plant science and entomology as part of the International Agriculture and Development dual-title graduate degree program.

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September 28, 2020

Penn State Extension testing new protocol for controlling oak wilt disease

Another invasive disease is threatening an important Pennsylvania forest tree species, and Penn State Extension foresters are investigating ways to control its spread.

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September 24, 2020

Team wins grant to develop nitrogen fertilizer decision tool for organic farmers

Penn State researchers have received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to perfect a tool they developed to help organic corn producers decide how much nitrogen — as fertilizer or manure — to apply to their crop fields.

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September 17, 2020

Study at Penn State to examine potential for birds to eat spotted lanternfly

Do birds find the spotted lanternfly to be a tasty treat or a nauseating nibble? That is one of the questions researchers at Penn State hope to answer, and they are seeking citizen scientists, especially bird watchers, to help in their quest for knowledge.

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Department of Ecosystem Science and Management


117 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802