Blair Orr

Blair Orr
"That one little mushroom won't hurt me..."
—Anonymous mushroom collector


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Professor, SFRES

  • PhD, Forestry, University of Wisconsin
  • MA, Economics, University of Wisconsin
  • BS, Natural Resources(Majors: Forestry and Soil Science), University of Wisconsin

Community Economics and Development

My graduate interests includes the economics of rural communities and how forests, the natural environment and forest management activities contribute to these communities. I work with graduate students and VISTA, Conservation Legacy, and the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows programs to facilitate stronger communities in areas that are recovering from the environmental and economic damage from historic mining activities and more broadly to improve quality of life in rural areas.

Many of my publications are in applied ethnobotany and I currently teach an upper-level undergraduate course in ethnobotany that has a focus on global understanding.

I also serve as faculty advisor to the Nordic Ski Club, a large student organization with over 600 members. It snows in Houghton and the university owns two great facilities – Mount Ripley for downhill (plus snowboarding) and Tech Trails for Nordic skiing – so students can take advantage of the great winter environment.

Areas of Expertise

  • Community Economics
  • Forest economics
  • Land use in the Upper Peninsula
  • Ethnobotany

Recent Publications

  • Preston, K. T.G. Pypker, and B. Orr. 2017. Women and fuelwood in Lupeta, Tanzania: constraints to alternative fuels and fuelwood management strategies. J. of Sustainable Forestry. 36(6):555-567.  online:

  • Mejia, G.A., and B. Orr. 2015. Forest management plans in Los Planes de La Palma, El Salvador. Natural Resources 6:527-533.


    Sterling, S.J., and B. Orr.  2014. Patterns of tree distribution in small communities of the Sudanian Savana-Sahel. Land 3(4):1284-1292.
  • Kenny, A.L., J.B. Pickens, and B. Orr. 2014. Modeling Teak Introduction on Smallholder Farms in Southern Togo. Journal of Sustainable Forestry.
  • Cisz, M.E., M.J. Falkowski, and B. Orr. 2013. Small-scale spatial patterns of Copernicia alba Morong near Bahia Negra, Paraguay. Natural Resources 4:369-377. Read More
  • Earnshaw, K.M., and B. Orr. 2013. Soil moisture, field-scale toposequential position, and slope effects on yields in irrigated rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields in Honduras. Agricultural Science. 4(8A):1-8. (Special issue on Water Management in Agriculture.)
  • Williams, R., T. Kuzmic, and B. Orr. 2013. The Student-Citizen and Study Abroad. J. of Forestry. 111(4):300-302.
  • Fox, M.M., S.J. Trull, and B. Orr. 2013. Suitability of Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) Sw. as an Indicator Species on the Ottawa National Forest. Michigan Botanist. 51(4):121-132. (dated 2012, published 2013)
  • Fox, M.M., S.J. Trull, and B. Orr. 2012, Effect of Selection Logging on Carex assiniboinensis W. Boott in a Northern Hardwood Stand Michigan Botanist. 51(3):110-116.
  • Seib, M.D., K.C. Arnold, and B. Orr. 2012. Effectiveness of 3MTM PetrifilmTM as a Teaching Tool in Rural Mali. Development in Practice. 22(2):267-271.
  • Aragona, F.B., and B. Orr. 2011. Agricultural intensification, monoculture and economic failure: The case of onion production in the Tipajara Watershed on the eastern slope of the Bolivian Andes. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. 35(5):467-492.   
  • Lincoln, K. and B. Orr. 2011. The use and cultural significance of the pita plant (Aechmea magdalenae) among Ngöbe women of Chalite, Panama. . Economic Botany. 65(1):13-26.
  • Rhoades, J.L,. M.S. Demeyan, and B. Orr. 2011. Impacts of Deforestation and Land Cover Change on Mountain Soils in Hrazdan, Armenia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 30(7):677-696.
  • Paulete, F.E., B. Orr. 2010. Combining Technical Competence and Stakeholder Impact in Environmental Education: The Gambia All Schools Nursery Competition. Applied Environmental Education and Communication. 9(1):18-27.
  • Satterlee, B.M., M. Yemefack, and B.D. Orr. 2009. Maize yield and soil property responses to Entada abyssinica (Steud. ex A. Rich.) cuttings in the Adamawa Lowlands, Cameroon. J.of Food, Agriculture and Environment 7(1):192-196.
  • Slatton, R., and B. Orr. 2008. A Smorgasbord of Agricultural Technologies: Farmers’ Choices and Lessons from Chalite, Panama. Development in Practice. 18(1):125-130.
  • Orr, B. 2007. Cross-Country Skiing USSA Points as a Predictor of Future Performance among Junior Skiers. The Sports Journal. Online. Vol 10, No. 4.
  • Jones, Michael J., and B. Orr. 2007. Resin Tapping and Forest Cooperatives in Honduras. J.of Sustainable Forestry 22(3/4):135-169.
  • Cohen, M.E., J. B. Pickens, J. Cardenas Castillo, and B. Orr 2005. Ecological suitability and tree seedling survival in the Bolivian Altiplano. Ecologia Austral 15:207-215.
  • Jarvis, MC, AM Miller, J Sheahan, K Ploetz, J Ploetz, RR Watson, MP Ruiz, CAP Villapan, JG Alvarado, AL Ramirez, & B Orr. 2005. Edible wild mushrooms of the Cofre de Perote Region, Veracruz, Mexico: an ethnomycological study of common names and uses. Economic Botany. 58(Supplement):S111-S115.
  • Ploetz, K., and B. Orr. 2004. Wild herb use in Bulgaria. Economic Botany 58(2):231-241.