Clark Elected to National Academy of Sciences

James S. Clark, Nicholas Professor of Environmental Sciences, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his groundbreaking studies on climate impacts on forests. 

Election to the academy, whose members are called upon to provide science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government, is one of the highest scientific honors awarded in the United States. 

“Jim’s research and scholarship have given us a deeper 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. “His election to the National Academy is richly deserved.”

A prolific researcher with more than 200 published studies and four books to his credit, Clark is highly regarded for his long-term studies that track forest species’ responses to climate change and other human or natural disturbances at regional, national and even continental scales.

This is the third time in recent years that his contributions to environmental science have been recognized at a national level. 

In 2019, he was one of only 43 scientists worldwide invited 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 the first comprehensive  national assessment of the effects of climate-exacerbated droughts on U.S. forests and rangelands  The report, which documented widespread impacts and proposed far-reaching changes in management practices, won the U.S. Forest Service’s Chief Award, one of the highest honors the agency bestows.  

Other recent honors awarded to Clark include being named a Presidential Faculty Fellow of the National Science Foundation, a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of the 2018 Humboldt Research Prize.