1935 - 2006
In a distinguished career spanning six decades, John H. Beuter, Ph.D., CF, brought his expertise on forestry and economics to landowners, industry, higher education, and government policy makers in the state, nation, and around the world. His ability to ask tough, penetrating questions-and follow up with thorough analysis-characterized his career at every step.
Beuter's career highlights included 18 years on the faculty at Oregon State University as a fulltime researcher in the Department of Forest Engineering and later a teaching and research position in the Department of Forest Management. He became Director of School Research Forests in 1973, and later served as Chair of the Department of Forest Management and Associate Dean for teaching in the College of Forestry.
"John was an excellent teacher. A demanding teacher," said Beuter's fellow faculty member George Brown, Ph.D. (now Dean Emeritus of the College of Forestry). "He also has a tremendous sense of dedication and purpose. In all his work, he gets at the heart of issues by asking tough, important questions."
Beuter's research at Oregon State ranged widely and he was a prolific author. He published research and economic analyses on reforestation, regulatory policy, forest products marketing, timber valuation, and more. He led the development of a landmark study, first published in 1976 and later updated, of an assessment of Oregon's timber availability, which became known simply as the "Beuter Report." The report was noteworthy for providing an up-to-date timber inventory for all regions of the state; highlighting the stocking and growth differences between public and private forests; predicting a significant decline in sustainable harvests in Oregon by the year 2000; and projecting a related drop in timber dependent employment. Beuter's projections would later be impacted by environmental rulings and changes in Federal management practices, but his initial data served as an important benchmark for all future studies and policy formulations.
"John was a very sound economic analyst," said Bob Wolf, a forester then working with the Congressional Research Service. "He looked at things as they were, not how he wished them to be."
From January 1991 to January 1993, Beuter served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment. In this position, he oversaw both the Forest Service and the Soil Conservation Service. He represented the USDA on key policy issues, most notably on the recovery team for the northern spotted owl. He also served as a liaison to the White House, Congress, and interest groups on forestry issues.
In 1995 and 1996, Beuter took on the role of Chief Technical Adviser for a regional project of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. He provided guidance to governments in China, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam on developing policies to aid the transition of their forestry sectors from central command economies to market-based economies. He also purchased and planted his own forests, creating the Umpqua-Tualatin company in 2001. John was elected a SAF fellow in 1986, and was elected the president of SAF in 2004. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the World Forestry Center since 1990.
"I've had an exciting and varied career as a forester, forest economist, teacher, researcher, administrator, policy maker, consultant, Air Force officer, and as owner and manager of our family forests," Beuter once said, looking back on a half century of forestry work.
-Excerpted in part from a biography prepared by the World Forestry Center, Portland, Oregon.