Professor Burt Barnes

In Remembrance: Burton V. Barnes

Burton V. Barnes, 83, died July 3. He was Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Forestry, and Forest Botanist for the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Professor Barnes was born November 4, 1930, in Bloomington, Indiana. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry in 1953, and his PhD in Forest Ecology/Forest Botany in 1959, both from the University of Michigan.

He was a Professor in the School of Natural Resources (now School of Natural Resources & Environment) from 1963-2006. He held the Stephen H. Spurr Collegiate Professorship of Ecology. Professor Barnes taught "Forest Ecology" and "Woody Plants: Biology and Identification" for over 40 years.

Professor Barnes’s research interests focused on forest and landscape ecology to generate basic and applied knowledge in ecosystem conservation, management, and restoration. His work provided the intellectual foundation for the landscape-based system by which the US Forest Service manages millions of hectares of National Forest land.

Over his career, Professor Barnes trained dozens of students who have gone on to leadership positions in academia, national land management agencies, and The Nature Conservancy. Through his large classes and emphasis on field-based learning, he inspired thousands of students to learn about plants, soils, and landscape ecosystems, and to care about environmental conservation, regardless of their career directions.

Professor Barnes received many awards and honors, including two prestigious national awards given by the Society of American Foresters: the Barrington Moore Memorial Award for outstanding research in forest biology (1990) and the Carl Alwin Schenck Award in recognition of demonstrated and outstanding performance in teaching and forestry education (2000). He was the University of Michigan Golden Apple Award recipient in 2001, recognizing his outstanding teaching in the classroom and field settings.

Donald R. Zak, PhD, holds the Burton V. Barnes Collegiate Professorship of Ecology, in recognition of Professor Barnes’s numerous contributions to the School of Natural Resources & Environment and its students.