Dr. Gene D. Amman was awarded the 1994 Western Forest Insect Work Conference (WFIWC) Founders' Award.
Gene Amman has served as an entomologist with the USDA Forest Service at both the Southeast Forest Experiment Station (Asheville, NC 1958-1965) and the Intermountain Research Station (Ogden, UT 1966 - retirement). While in Asheville, he conducted research on the recently introduced balsam woolly adelgid as well as on the biology, ecology, and control of bark beetles and defoliators in the Southeastern States. After moving to the Intermountain Research Station, Amman's research focused on the quantification of the complex of biotic agents influencing mountain pine beetle (MPB) population dynamics, development of stand hazard- and risk-rating methods, development of MPB control strategies, and technology transfer to resource managers. He served as Project Leader for the Population Dynamics of Mountain Pine Beetle Research Work Unit for many years.
Dr. Amman authored or coauthored many important technical papers, book chapters, and invited papers. He received USDA Certificates of Merit in 1975, 1977, and 1986; the USDA Superior Service Honor Award in 1983 (for exceptional research on MPB); and the Utah Governor's Award for Science and Technology in 1991 (for outstanding contributions to knowledge of MPB). Gene Amman made substantial technology transfer contributions by participating in technical conferences, workshops, and in-woods demonstrations as well as collaborating with colleagues to produce a training video on MPB management.
Gene Amman has applied several of his major research findings to forest pest management activities. He demonstrated that MPB could not be controlled on a forest-wide basis with chemical pesticides, leading to the replacement of that practice with increased reliance on silvicultural methods to reduce MPB-caused losses. Amman was instrumental in developing a stand hazard-rating method for lodgepole pine that provided a means of assessing the potential for MPB outbreaks and directing silvicultural activities to high-hazard stands. He also participated in developing partial cutting strategies in Montana and Wyoming aimed at reducing stand susceptibility to MPB.
Gene Amman is recognized nationally and internationally for his research on mountain pine beetle. Results of his research are frequently cited in articles of scientific journals and have served as the basis for significant studies by others. His findings and explanatory theories on the relation of beetle production to phloem thickness of lodgepole pine, and in turn to tree diameter, has revolutionized our understanding of the cause of beetle outbreaks, and has opened the door to major accomplishments toward managing MPB. Gene Amman's research has led to development of a stand hazard-rating method that helps direct land manager's attention to high hazard stands, thus greatly reducing losses to MPB. His research has also led to development of partial cutting strategies that have been effective in reducing tree losses to MPB. The idea of altered microclimate being the principal factor involved in reduced tree losses to MPB followig thinning has major implications to the improvement of silvicultural control.
An historical perspective on Gene Amman's research on MPB can be found in his Founders Award Address.
Adapted from the Founders Award nomination packet by Kathy Sheehan, April 2004.