University of Vermont

Honorary Degree Recipient_F. Herbert Bormann

Honorary Degree Recipient

Doctor of Science

F. Herbert Bormann began researching the ecosystems of New England’s forests more than 50 years ago. The alpine and old growth forests of the Green Mountains and Sleepers River watershed of Vermont were his early stomping grounds. Ideas that germinated in those Vermont soils ultimately led to several novel approaches to research that have become the premier models for scientific study of ecosystems throughout the world. Bormann pioneered the “small watershed technique” to study the biogeochemistry of whole forest ecosystems.

Bormann has been awarded the prestigious World Prize for Environmental Achievement, Eminent Ecologist Award, and the Blue Planet Prize, among others. His outstanding scientific contributions are found in nearly 200 articles in the scientific literature and eight books he authored or co-authored. He has served as mentor and advisor to 34 Ph.D. ecologists, who serve as professors at universities throughout the world including the University of Vermont. Bormann is a long-time, active member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences – two of the nation’s most prestigious and selective organizations. Establishing the world-renowned Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study in New Hampshire also numbers among Bormann’s lasting contributions to his field.

While his record as a scientist is unparalleled, Bormann’s contributions to society truly distinguish him. He has described the role of human activity as a driver of cycles in natural systems. He has defined the “global environmental debt” and explained how it influences quality of life, economies and politics. His book, Redesigning the American Lawn, a Search for Environmental Harmony, brought his work to a wider audience. An underlying theme of Bormann’s work is communicating ways that environmental science can serve humanity.

A professor emeritus at Yale University, Bormann has a long association with the University of Vermont where he holds a formal adjunct professorship in The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. As a founding member of the Rubenstein School’s Board of Advisors, Bormann takes a key role in helping UVM fulfill its promise to become the leading environmental university in the nation.

Perhaps the leading academic voice on environmental matters in the world, Herbert Bormann’s thinking and investigation models have dramatically changed our understanding of how forest ecosystems work, how to study these complex systems, and the relationship between the natural world and humanity.

Last modified May 19 2005 10:24 AM

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