James Burger named Garland Gray Professor of Forestry

James Burger

James Burger

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 29, 2007 – James A. Burger of Blacksburg, professor of forestry in the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, has been appointed the Garland Gray Professor of Forestry by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board's quarterly meeting March 26.

The Garland Gray Professorship was established in 1985 by Elmon T. Gray in memory of his father. The professorship is open to senior faculty in the College of Natural Resources whose teaching and research support the forest products industry.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty for 27 years, Burger has worked to establish himself as the authority on reforestation and restoration. His research work in the area of reclamation of disturbed land has had a profound impact in his field. His work has led to practices and regulations that have made the reclamation of thousands of acres of orphaned mined land possible while assuring that current mining operations will be conducted in a manner that will maximize the potential for successfully restoring the site to productive use.

Using approximately $5 million in research grants, Burger created a seamless research/graduate education program that develops solutions to real world problems while simultaneously training the next generation of researchers and teachers. Many of Burger’s graduate students have gone on to hold positions in industry and government. Several more have gone on to become professors in major forestry programs.

Burger has been recognized nationally and internally for his contributions to reclamation science. In 2000, he received the William Plass Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation, the society’s most prestigious life-time achievement award. He was also recognized for his contributions to the soil science profession through his selection as a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America.

He received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.