By Kim Scotto-Kelley
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Eric Jokela, University of Florida professor emeritus, will be inducted this month into the Florida Division of the Society of American Foresters Hall of Fame. Inductees are selected for their outstanding contributions to the forestry profession in Florida and beyond.
Jokela joined the faculty of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) in 1984, specializing in silviculture and forest nutrition.
“I am honored to receive this award and very grateful for the many opportunities afforded to me while working at IFAS and SFRC, in meeting UF’s land grant mission.” said Jokela, who was named a professor emeritus upon his retirement in 2018.
Jokela directed the Cooperative Research in Forest Fertilization program and served as a founding co-director of the Forest Biology Research Cooperative.
These two cooperatives established scores of long-term research installations from Texas to Virginia, producing scientific insight that has had a profound impact on the productivity, health and sustainability of managed pine forests in the southeastern United States.
“Dr. Jokela’s impact on pine forest management in the southeastern United States is probably his greatest research legacy,” said Tim Martin, SFRC professor. Jokela has said that he finds it especially gratifying to know that his work contributed to the advancement of sustainable forest management systems.
In 2015, the Society of American Foresters recognized Jokela’s research with the Barrington Moore award, their highest honor for research in the biological sciences. He was also named a fellow by the Society of American Foresters in 2011.
Throughout his career, Jokela has been recognized as a beloved professor and mentor. He was named “Teacher of the Year,” an award directly chosen by students, seven times prior to his retirement.
“Students consistently cited Dr. Jokela’s courses as among the most valuable that they took during their time at UF,” Martin said. Jokela remains active in the SFRC and plans to teach a longleaf pine ecology and management field course in May.
Jokela will be recognized for the award, along with Jim Karels, director and state forester for the Florida Forest Service, and Mark Milligan, president of F4 Tech, at the upcoming Southeastern Society of American Foresters annual meeting, held Feb. 23-25.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS website at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media.