News Release

Patel-Weynand Named Director of Southern Research Station

May 13, 2022

Asheville, NC — The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station announced that Dr. Toral Patel-Weynand will serve as the Station’s next Director. Patel-Weynand was recently the Acting Associate Deputy Chief and Director of Sustainable Forest Management Research in the Research and Development deputy area in Washington, DC. She permanently replaces Dr. Rob Doudrick, who retired in 2021.

On May 4, Forest Service Chief Randy Moore made the announcement that Patel-Weynand had accepted the appointment and congratulated her on this new assignment, effective May 9. Chief Moore also thanked Rob Harper for his exceptional leadership during his tenure as Acting Director of the Southern Research Station since Doudrick’s retirement.

Dr. Patel-Weynand

“I humbly accept this appointment, and I am excited to join the Southern Research Station. The Station has played a seminal role in forestry and natural resources management, and I am looking forward to continuing that legacy. I look forward to working side by side with staff and partners as we continue our efforts to sustain forest resources across the Southeast and beyond,” said Dr. Patel-Weynand.

Patel-Weynand brings a broad range of experience, having worked across academia, the private sector, and federal government in environmental science and natural resources management. In her most recent role, she focused on forest management science and creating practical strategies to improve forest and rangeland conditions. Patel-Weynand has served in a number of research and management positions within the Forest Service, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Geological Survey.

“In these positions, she built strong science-management partnerships to address complex resource challenges in the U.S. and internationally,” said Moore. “With her level of experience, research leadership, academic background, and passion for science and forest management, I am confident that Patel-Weynand will be an asset in helping SRS continue its mission.”

Patel-Weynand began her Forest Service career as National Program Lead working on climate adaptation, mitigation, and resilience on forests and rangelands. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees from Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and has published more than 100 publications, technical reports, and several books on forest resources and management. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington, School of Forest Resources in Seattle.