AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University Alumni Professor Daowei Zhang has been named associate dean of research in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences following an internal search. He began in the role on Nov. 20.

Zhang, the George W. Peake Jr. Professor of Forest Economics and Policy, began his career as an assistant professor in the school in 1994, achieving the rank of professor in 2003. He also serves as an Alumni Professor, a university honor based on research, publishing, and teaching.

Zhang’s teaching and research focus on the economics and policy of forest resource management. He has authored or co-authored 110 refereed journal articles, seven books, and nine book chapters and has received more than $2.6 million in extramural grants.

About the appointment, Zhang said, “I appreciate the confidence in me, expressed by the search committee, faculty, staff, graduate students and Dean Janaki Alavalapati. I look forward to working with faculty and graduate students in our school and across campus to perform cutting-edge studies in a disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary fashion.”

Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from South-Central Forestry University in China, a master’s degree in forest science from Beijing Forestry University, and a doctorate in forest economics and policy from the University of British Columbia in 1994.

An internationally renowned scientist, Zhang worked in the Ministry of Forestry and China Development Bank prior to his academic career and more recently served as a senior forestry officer and team leader at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He also has served as a board member of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and the Science and Technology Board of the Society of American Foresters, or SAF.

Zhang has received numerous awards over the course of his career, including the International Union of Forest Research Organizations’ Scientific Achievement Award; SAF’s Award in Forest Science; Southeastern SAF’s Research and Development Award; Auburn University’s Author Award in 2007, 2011 and 2013; and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences’ Harry Murphy Research Award. He is also a SAF fellow.

In appointing Zhang, Dean Alavalapati cited Zhang’s extensive teaching history, impactful research and international contributions to advancing science and global policy.

“With Dr. Zhang’s leadership, we anticipate our faculty will continue to conduct innovative research that will produce a diverse body of high-quality natural resource professionals and significant contributions to long-term societal and environmental well-being,” Alavalapati said. 

Zhang succeeds Graeme Lockaby, the Clinton-McClure Professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, as associate dean of research.