John Kotar

John Kotar is an emeritus professor from the Department of Forest Ecology and Management, UW-Madison. He continues to do research and training with Wisconsin DNR and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service).

Kotar joined the department in 1986 specializing in the classification of forest vegetation into habitat types based on relationships between soils and groupings of understory plant species. This classification system allows professional foresters to predict the pathway of forest succession and make management decisions without resorting to complex, long-term studies.

Dr. Kotar prepared several popular and widely distributed guidebooks to aid foresters in “habitat typing” virtually any forest community in Wisconsin. His original book, Field Guide to Forest Habitat Types of Northern Wisconsin, was published in 1986 and was followed by a companion guide for southern Wisconsin in 1996. An expanded version of the northern Wisconsin guide was published as a second edition in 2002, followed by a guide for similar forest communities in Michigan in 2003. Dr. Kotar and his co-workers shared their expertise via numerous training workshops to assist foresters in the practical application of the guides.

Dr. Kotar received several awards during his tenure, including the Wisconsin Idea Award in Natural Resources from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the UW-Madison in 1995,Technology Transfer and Extension National Award from the Society of American Foresters (SAF) in 1993, and the John Macon Award for meritorious service from the Wisconsin Chapter of SAF in 2000.

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