State forester Scott Josiah to retire

Scott Josiah

July 18, 2017

Lincoln, Neb. — Scott Josiah, state forester and director of the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS), will retire on July 28 after 18 years of service to the University of Nebraska. 

After serving for six years as state extension forester, Josiah has held the role of NFS director for 12 years. Under his leadership, NFS faced an era of unprecedented change, as well as historic organizational growth. Most notably, Josiah oversaw the blending of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum with the Nebraska Forest Service, forming a turn-key community forestry and sustainable landscapes service program – one of the largest of any state forestry agency. 

Intensifying wildfires, drought, floods, severe weather events and the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer led to several successful partner-based legislative initiatives during Josiah’s time as director. Additionally, forest fuels reduction, wildland firefighter training and aviation support, and provision of federal surplus property were all greatly expanded to better serve volunteer fire districts and the people they protect. 

As a founding member of a national hazelnut research consortium, Josiah was instrumental in advancing hybrid hazelnut research in Nebraska. With support from the university and the U.S. Forest Service, he facilitated the establishment of the only urban and community forestry undergraduate major west of the Mississippi. He has co-chaired the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition and chaired the Council of Western State Foresters. Josiah was appointed by and served two U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture on the Forestry Research Advisory Council and the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, and is currently chair-elect of the Board of Trustees of the Arbor Day Foundation. 

Josiah earned a B.S. degree in forestry from the State of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, obtained a M.S. in ecological restoration from the University of Illinois at Carbondale, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in forest policy and administration. His career led to work in New York, the U.S. Territory of Guam, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Haiti and a number of other foreign countries. 

The search for Josiah's replacement is currently underway. Any questions regarding this process should be directed to

A public retirement reception for Josiah will be held August 7 from 2 – 4 p.m. on the second floor lobby of Hardin Hall, 3310 Holdrege St. Lincoln. A brief program will begin at 3 p.m.

Kyle Martens
Communications Specialist
Nebraska Forest Service