The College of Natural Resources and Environment welcomed two new faculty members at the start of the fall semester.

David Carter is an assistant professor of silviculture in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Carter’s research focuses on developing silvicultural techniques to accomplish a diversity of forestry goals and objectives.

In his new position, Carter also serves as a co-director of the Forest Productivity Cooperative, an international partnership between Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil, and the Universidad de Concepción in Chile that is committed to creating innovative solutions to improve productivity through sustainable forestry practices.

“The Forest Productivity Cooperative is going to be a big part of David’s job — promoting and moving that initiative forward and continuing to build on the strong foundation that we’ve had there over the past 15 years,” said Department Head Jay Sullivan.

“David will be researching and teaching in the area of silviculture, which could involve topics ranging from forest regeneration to forest health, productivity, and growth, to tree species composition. He has a strong background that covers the breadth of what silviculture entails,” Sullivan continued.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, Carter researched the growth and ecological impacts of invasive Scotch broom in recently clear-cut Douglas-fir forests in the Pacific Northwest as part of his doctoral study at the University of Minnesota. His past research has included vegetation management in plantations in the Pacific Northwest, the efficacy of ecological forestry in accomplishing timber and biodiversity objectives in Maine, and the restoration of oak woodlands in the Midwest using silvicultural manipulations.

Carter earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a master’s degree from the University of Maine, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Thomas Pingel, a specialist in geospatial theory and applications, is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. He was hired into Virginia Tech’s Data and Decisions Destination Area, one of several areas in which teams work collaboratively across disciplinary boundaries to address complex problems.

“In that role, Dr. Pingel will help us connect outside our department and our college to other researchers working to make better decisions through data,” said Department Chair Tom Crawford.

“Dr. Pingel’s research focuses on near-earth geospatial imaging applied to human geographic problems and topics,” Crawford added. “He has a record as a great teacher and researcher, and his hiring helps to enhance our position as a leading university in geospatial studies.”

Pingel, who is currently teaching a course on geovisualization, was previously an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University, where he developed geospatial mapping methods that helped reveal a previously unknown Mayan temple in the Yucatan Peninsula. He has researched tornado risks in the U.S. and developed 3D-printed maps for people with visual impairments.

Pingel earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of California–Santa Barbara. He served as a graduate research fellow at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he received a director’s award in 2007.

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