DURHAM, N.C. – James S. Clark, a Duke University faculty member widely cited for his long-term studies on climate impacts on forests, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States.

Clark is Nicholas Professor of Environmental Sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He also holds faculty appointments as a professor in biology and statistics.

A prolific researcher with more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and four books to his credit, Clark’s research has shed new light on how forest biodiversity is being affected by a changing climate and natural or human disturbance.

In 2019, he was one of 43 scientists worldwide selected to take part in the French government’s Make Our Planet Great Again research initiative.

In 2016, he led a team of more than 70 scientists to create a national assessment, “Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States,” for the U.S. Forest Service. The report won the U.S. Forest Service’s Chief Award, one of the highest honors the agency bestows in recognition of scholarship that contributes to better management practices and improved sustainability for public lands.

Clark’s other professional honors include winning the 2018 Humboldt Research Award and being named a Presidential Faculty Fellow of the National Science Foundation. He also has been named a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He and 119 other newly elected NAS members will be recognized in April 2021 at the academy’s 158th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“This is a richly deserved honor. Jim’s research and scholarship have given us a new understanding of how climate change affects not just individual tree species but all the other species – plants and animals – that depend on that tree, too,” said Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School.

“I am honored to be selected for this recognition. My warm thanks go to the terrific students, postdocs, and technicians in my lab, and to my stimulating colleagues and friends on the faculty,” Clark said. “I share this honor with all of them and welcome the opportunity to support the nominations of our fantastic Duke colleagues in the future.”

The NAS is a private, nonprofit honorific society of scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research and dedicated to advancing science and technology for the public good. One of its chief duties is providing science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government. There are currently 2,403 active NAS members. 

With Clark’s election, Duke now has 32 faculty who are members of the academy. 

See the full list of 2020 inductees at http://www.nasonline.org/news-and-multimedia/news/2020-nas-election.html.