Jeffrey Prestemon

Project Leader
Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 12254
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone: 919-549-4033

Current Research

Principal study areas: (i) economic and statistical analysis of forest-based disturbances, (ii) international trade, and (iii) timber market structure and function. A major focus of disturbance research is to understand the production of wildfire and its management, and to expand understanding of effective approaches to reducing the occurrences of green crimes. Markets research evaluates domestic and international forest product and timber price relationships. Trade research primarily seeks to identify the role of the U.S. forest sector in world markets.

Research Interests

Understanding, predicting, and forecasting arson (incendiary) and intentional wildfires

Understanding, predicting, and forecasting accidentally ignited wildfires

Understanding and forecasting suppression costs

Quantifying the effects and economic net benefits of wildfire hazard reduction treatments, such as mechanical treatments and prescribed fire

Understanding processes of illegal activities, including green crimes, occurring in forests

Understanding the national and global impacts of policies and programs to reduce rates of illegal logging and trade in illegally sourced forest products

Nonlinear and linear modeling of forest product market prices and spatial relationships

The economics of invasive, exotic, and endemic pests in forests

The economic impacts of hurricanes on timber markets

Why This Research is Important

Understanding how humans intervene intentionally and unintentionally intervene in forests, markets, and disturbance processes can improve policies and programs that seek to maximize public and private well-being. Scientific analyses of disturbances, markets, and trade can also provide platforms for testing hypotheses and broader theories related to biophysical processes, landowner behavior, criminal activity, potentially advancing knowledge in related fields of inquiry.


Ph.D. in Forest Economics, 1994
University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S. in Forest Economics, 1989
North Carolina State University
B.S. in Forest Resource Management, 1983
Iowa State University

Professional Experience

Project Leader, Economics and Policy Research (SRS-4804), Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Research Forester, Economics of Forest Protection and Management (SRS-4851)/Economics and Policy Research (SRS-4804), Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Post-doctoral Economist, Economics of Forest Protection and Management (SRS-4851), Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Research Associate, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Assistant, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Assistant, Department of Forestry, North Carolina State University
Volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps, Honduras
Laboratory Technician, Iowa State University

Professional Organizations

  • International Journal Of Wildland Fire, Associate Editor (2012—Current)
  • Forest Science, Associate Editor (2004—2011)
  • Forest Policy And Economics, Associate Editor (2002—2006)

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Helping federal agencies manage fire budgets (2011)
Budgeting for wildfire suppression is increasingly difficult for federal for the Forest Service and Department of the Interior. In the past, fire suppression activities were often funded at the expense of other agency programs. The FLAME Act of 2009, which provides funding for wildfire suppression, also presents the challenge of accurately estimating fire suppression costs as far as 3 years out. Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists are improving tools to make the estimates needed for FLAME Act funding.
The Forest Service Leads an Interagency Team to Better Understand How Wildfires are Ignited (2014)
SRS-2014-157 Forest Service, Department of Interior, and state land management agencies collaborated in a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy science team to better understand trends and causes of wildfires. The resulting assessment document was designed to uncover likely avenues for advancing research and development, assisting wildland managers and policy makers in reducing the overall costs and losses from unwanted wildfires.
Why Have smoking-caused wildfires declined in frequency (2014)
SRS-2014-159 The number of wildfires caused by smoking has declined by 90 percent on national forests since 1980, yet little is known about why, when most other causes have not declined so precipitously. Collaborative research between the Forest Service scientists and the National Institute of Standards and Technology indicates that one-tenth of the decline is attributable to the reduction in adult smoking rates, one-fourth to the emergence of less fire prone "fire-safe" cigarettes, while nearly half is likely due to improved wildfire investigation methods.
Wildfire Prevention Pays Big Dividends (2012)
SRS-2012-20 Wildfire prevention efforts on tribal lands in the United States have benefits that likely exceed costs by at least tenfold