Jack Ward Thomas

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Jack Ward Thomas

Jack Ward Thomas (September 7, 1934 - May 26, 2016) was the thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service, serving during the Clinton administration years of 1993-1996.

He was born 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. Jack became a member of the Boone and Crockett Club in 1994. After retiring from the Forest Service, he accepted a position as the Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the School of Forestry of the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana -- a position he held until 2006 when he officially retired.


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.
  • A Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl, 1990

  • Wildlife habitats in managed rangelands: The Great Basin of southeastern Oregon : riparian zones (General technical report PNW), 1979
  • Forks in the Trail: A Conservationist's Trek to the Pinnacles of Natural Resource Management, Boone and Crockett Club, 2015
  • Wilderness Journals: Wandering the High Lonesome, Boone and Crockett Club, 2015
  • Hunting Around the World: Fair Chase Pursuits from Backcountry Wilderness to the Scottish Highlands, Boone and Crockett Club, 2015

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