Published October 30, 2012
SPARTANBURG, SC - Rhett Johnson, founder and president emeritus of the Longleaf Alliance, which is dedicated to the conservation of longleaf pine ecosystems, will speak at Wofford College at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Olin Teaching Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building. The program is the first of Wofford's Tyson Family Lecture on the Preservation and Restoration of Southern Ecosystems. It is free and open to the public.Johnson will speak on "Longleaf in the Long Run: Restoring the South's Richest Forest." The lecture is hosted by the Wofford environmental studies program.
A native of Georgetown, S.C., and graduate of N.C. State University and Clemson University, Johnson was the inaugural director of Auburn University's Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center near Andalusia, Ala. The center is a 5,300-acre educational, research and working forest in the heart of that state's longleaf region.
In 1995, Johnson and colleague Dean Gjerstad founded the Longleaf Alliance. Relying on education, outreach, technical assistance and applied research, the alliance is recognized widely as the premiere organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems across the entire range of the species. Working with an array of public and private partners, the alliance has led to resurgence of interest in longleaf ecosystems and championed both the ecological and economic values of longleaf forests.
Johnson retired from the Auburn faculty in 2006 to devote himself full-time to the Longleaf Alliance, and in this year, he retired from the alliance.
The Tyson Family Lecture on the Preservation and Restoration of Southern Ecosystems, established within the purview of the Wofford environmental studies program, is an annual lectureship devoted to issues related to the preservation, restoration and sustainability of Southern ecosystems. The speakers reflect the entire range of the multi-disciplinary approach of environmental studies and may include individuals from academia, business, industry, government, the arts or the non-profit sector.