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Steve has spent his entire professional career advancing ecological restoration. He pursued that agenda as a SER member/leader, teacher, researcher, university administrator, private contractor, and international development professional in over 25 countries.
SER has been a ongoing benefit to Steve’s life and career. As member since its beginning in 1988 and with SER Texas since its founding in 1995 he benefited from restoration information and wonderful friendships. He served 11 years on the SER Board of Directors and as Chair of that Board from 2011 to 2014.
Steve is a retired Professor of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University where he initiated and taught the first ecological restoration course in 1989. Between 2003 and 2011 he served as Head of the Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management (2003-2006) and then Forest Science (2005-2006) where he lead the merger of those departments into the new Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (2006 to 2012). Dr. Whisenant lead academic, research, and extension programs in rangelands, forestry, and ecosystem management. Through the merger he organized a new department focused on addressing real-world problems by developing holistic ecological, social, and technological solutions. As part of those efforts he organized the development and creation of a B.S. degree in Ecological Restoration. Professor Whisenant resigned as Department Head in 2012 and began working for the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M. In that capacity, he served as Chief of Party for a USAID project in Bor, South Sudan that included capacity building in Jonglei State for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, wildlife and rangeland watersheds. Dr. Whisenant now serves as a Senior Research Scientist and Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.
Dr. Whisenant's research career focused on developing a conceptual framework for ecological restoration of wildland landscapes. His objectives were to reduce costs and restore functionality by initiating and directing - rather than confronting - natural successional processes. This was described in his book "Repairing Damaged Wildlands: a process-oriented, landscape-scale approach" published by Cambridge University Press which was later republished in Chinese by China Science Press. These have been the most widely published ecological restoration books in the world and have influenced numerous restoration professionals. Steve is also a life member of the Society for Range Management and a recipient of their Outstanding Achievement Award (2004) and the W. R. Chapline Research Award (2009). The Texas Section of the Society for Range Management awarded him their Outstanding Contribution to Range Management Award (2007).
Steve Whisenant continues to benefit from his SER affiliation and continues to learn from his SER colleagues while contributing to the SER mission when possible.