CORVALLIS, Ore. – Darius Adams, professor emeritus in the Oregon State University College of Forestry, is one of three researchers sharing this year’s international Marcus Wallenberg Prize for developing a pair of groundbreaking forest economic models.
The annual prize, one of the highest honors in the field of forestry, was announced last week in Sweden and is named for the late Marcus Wallenberg Jr., a banker, industrialist and member of Sweden’s long-influential Wallenberg family.
Adams is the second Wallenberg awardee from the College of Forestry in the last three years. In 2020 another OSU professor emeritus, Richard Waring, was honored for developing a revolutionary computer model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.
Adams and co-honorees Joseph Buongiorno of the University of Wisconsin and Richard Haynes of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station will share 2.5 million kronor, about $242,700, when they are presented with the prize in October in Stockholm by Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI.
“Darius Adams and his colleagues are deeply deserving of this incredible honor for their visionary work that the forest industry continues to build on,” said Tom DeLuca, the Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford dean of the OSU College of Forestry. “Their collective accomplishments are a reminder to us all that the transformational changes needed to solve today’s pressing global resource and environmental concerns are best achieved collaboratively.”
Adams joined the OSU College of Forestry faculty in 1974 and remained active in forest economics teaching and research until 2009. The models created by Adams and his colleagues combine biological, statistical, mathematical and technological knowledge with neoclassical economic theory for the benefit of forestry professionals and policy makers in both the public and private sectors.
“We never shied away from adding more detail, which is quite unlike the attitude of many other economic modelers, since we felt it made the output more useful,” Adams said.
The models, known as TAMM and PAPYRUS, can be applied to analyze the impact of multiple factors including trade regulations, climate mitigation measures, carbon pricing, forest protection measures, energy supply subsidies, new biorefinery products and climate change.
“We didn’t have to approximate the effects of a policy change – the elements critical to policy action were built into the model and could be directly manipulated in a projection of the future,” Adams said. “For example, separately modeling industrial and nonindustrial forest inventories and harvest decisions allowed us to look at the different effects of, say, subsidies for planting or higher desired rates of return on capital in industrial ownerships.”
TAMM and PAPYRUS became the foundation of forest sector modeling based on neoclassical economic theory and are the basis for numerous global, national and regional models, including the widely used Global Forest Products Model.
“Global forests and the industry continue to face new demands and challenges under a changing climate and new governance conditions,” said Johanna Buchert, who chaired the Marcus Wallenberg Prize selection committee. “The further development of forest and forest sector modeling and continuing on the legacy of this year’s laureates will become increasingly important to guide policy making at different levels and to sustain an intelligent and sustainable development of forestry and forest industries.”
Established in 1980, the Marcus Wallenberg Prize goes to an individual researcher or a small group of researchers for “a groundbreaking discovery or development in an area of importance to the forest industry,” according to the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.
The prize’s purpose is “recognizing, encouraging, and stimulating pathbreaking scientific achievements, which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries.”
About the OSU College of Forestry: For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates more than 15,000 acres of college forests.