Jameson Karns

Jameson KarnsTerm: Summer 2016


My research and professional experience explore modern North American land management agencies and the role they have on environmental sciences and the environment. I am interested in the development of these sciences and their implementation on the land. My scholarship also covers the social, cultural, and political impact of land management. Specifically, I am interested in the training and mentoring that Gifford Pinchot and others received in Europe.

Seeking mentorship in the emerging field of forestry, Gifford Pinchot traveled to Europe in the late nineteenth century. There he met his mentor, Sir Dietrich Brandis. Brandis is an unrivaled figure in the creation of national forestry agencies. The German national created the world’s largest forestry department during his employ with the British Empire, spanning from modern day Myanmar to Eastern Pakistan. He dedicated the later portion of his life to help other regions of the world develop their own forestry programs. For this reason, he is often referred to as the “Grandfather” of American forestry.

Despite these accolades, Brandis remains a rather elusive historical figure. My dissertation is a biography on Dietrich Brandis, where I examine the social and environmental contexts of his work and legacy.


“In Summer, 2016, I was provided the opportunity to research and Grey Towers. From this research I was able to chart Pinchot’s travels through Europe. The following year, I was able to retraced his steps through France and Germany.”


Karns, J. (2019). Reuniting Legacies.  In Goldammer, J. G. & Karns, J. (Ed.). Carl Alwin Schenck Memoiren 1868-1887: Carl A. Schenck, Sir Dietrich Brandis und Gifford Pinchot: Väter der amerikanischen Forstwirtschaft (translation: Fathers of American Forestry). Remagen-Oberwinter, Germany: Kessel Publishing House.