James C. Rivard

James C. Rivard
"The promotion of conifers and mid-tolerant hardwoods in our northern hardwood forests is one way to mitigate future invasive species."


Forester/Instructor, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Faculty Advisor, FERM Enterprise

One acre at a time

One of the biggest challenges facing foresters today is ensuring the long term health and productivity of our forests while continuing to meet landowner goals and objectives. With the increase of global trade comes the likelihood that more exotic/invasive pests and diseases will be introduced into our forests. While we can't predict the future, foresters can mitigate some of the impact by employing management practices that improve overall diversity in our forests.

As foresters we have a duty to educate the public as to the benefits of good forest management. When conducting management activities (i.e. timber harvesting) close to town, in nature parks or other areas with high visibility, it is imperative that we publicly state the reasons for our activities and the benefits of doing so.

At Michigan Tech, my primary responsibility is instructing the FERM (FW3376). The FERM is a hands on, "applied forestry" class where the students participate in real world management activities. Most of these activities take place on MTU lands that already have a management plan in place, but we do have some partner projects with local units of government and non-profit agencies. The work varies by semester, primarily due to weather conditions, but generally includes: tree marking, property line boundaries, recreational development (i.e. trail layout, sled hills, interpretive signs), timber harvest administration, GIS/GPS and more.

Areas of Expertise

  • Forest Inventory
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Maple syrup production
  • Using technology to assist in forest management
  • Web Applications