Jack Ward Thomas

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Jack Ward Thomas

Jack Ward Thomas was the thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service, serving during the Clinton administration years of 1993-1996.

He was born September 7, 1934, in Fort Worth, Texas. His undergraduate education and degree (a BS in wildlife management in 1957) was from Texas A&M University. He worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for ten years. Then while working as a USFS research biologist at Morgantown, WV, he received an MS in wildlife ecology from West Virginia University. He headed a Forest Service research unit at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He received his PhD in forestry there in 1972. In 1974 he moved to La Grande, Oregon working as the chief research wildlife biologist and program leader at the USFS Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory.

On December 1, 1993 he was appointed Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. During his time as head of the USFS, the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted. After retiring from the Forest Service, he accepted a position as Boone & Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the School of Forestry of the University of Montana in Missoula.


He has more than 600 publications to his credit, including:

  • Jack Ward Thomas: The Journals of a Forest Service Chief, edited by Harold K. Steen. UofWA Press, 2004, 417 pp.
  • North American Elk: Ecology and Management, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002, Thomas was co-editor.
  • Wildlife habitats in managed forests: the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington, Agriculture Handbook No. 553, USDA, 1979. Thomas was editor.
  • Viability assessments and management considerations for species associated with late-successional and old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, USFS, 1993. The Spotted Owl report
  • A Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl, 1990
  • A Rope Truss for Restraining Deer, Journal of Wildlife Management, 1967
  • Wildlife habitats in managed rangelands: The Great Basin of southeastern Oregon : riparian zones (General technical report PNW), 1979

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