Dr. Jennifer Plyler is Social Scientist Program Specialist with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station’s, Center for Integrated Forest Science (CIFS), having joined the center in December 2014. She brings almost 25 years of practical and applied experience in human dimension aspects of natural resource management, technology transfer, the communicative arts and marketing, and science delivery. Prior to joining CIFS, she was the Assistant Director for Science Delivery for the Southern Research Station for 7 years. She also held a Visiting Professor position at Virginia Tech for 12 years where she taught human dimension, ethic and policy-related courses. Dr. Plyler has served as a coach for the agency’s various leadership programs for 8 years. Dr. Plyler was also a member of two Type I Incident Management Teams as a Type I Public Information Officer for 9 years. Here, she had the opportunity to observe first-hand the impact of wildland fire-related policies on the natural environment and the people living in and around the wildland urban interface. This experience gives her insight into the human dimension aspect of policies that CIFS studies (i.e., National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy).
Areas of Expertise:
Science delivery, marketing, human dimension and social science research and policy analysis, and professional coaching services.
Dr. Plyler’s research at CIFS focuses on the human dimension aspect of policies related to climate change and how urban forests can serve a greater role in storing carbon and improving air quality. Dr. Plyler is also working on a framework for of how communities can use the natural environment as a way to improve their resiliency when disasters occur (i.e., hurricanes, flooding, drought, fire, etc.). She is examining the barriers that managers and landowners may encounter when deciding how (and whether) to manage their forests for future water supplies along with other management objectives that may be counter-productive to watershed management objectives. Within this work, she is considering the likelihood of drought and water scarcity for many areas of the southern United States and whether the broader public will accept forest management on public lands (including municipal watersheds) that address water quantity and quality issues.
B.A. The University of Tennessee, Double Major: Psychology and Sociology (specialty in criminal justice (1985)
Completed 45 hours of course work toward a PsyD (Doctorate of Psychology) in Clinical Psychology, specialty in Forensic Psychology, Illinois School of Professional Psychology (1985-1988)
M.S. The University of Tennessee (Forestry) (1995)
Ph.D. Virginia Tech (Forestry and Forest Product, Specialty in Industrial Forest Operations (1997)