USFS Postdoctoral Scientist Fellowship in Climate Change, Forest Management, and Forest Products in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Connect with ORISE...on the GO! Download the new ORISE GO mobile app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to help you stay engaged, connected, and informed during your ORISE experience and beyond!

A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Selected candidate must provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. At least one recommendation must be submitted in order for the mentor to view your application.

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
4/1/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A postdoctoral fellowship opportunity is available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS), preferably based at US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Remote work is also an option. 

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research ProjectThe selected applicant will collaborate with a team of research and science communication specialists at the USDA Caribbean Climate Hub, located at the USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry. The applicant will co-lead a project to analyze existing geospatial information related to the distribution of forests and tree species in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, information on land ownership and management practices, biophysical attributes of the landscape, current and past practices related to the production forest products and benefits, and information on climate scenarios in order to develop new knowledge of potential management pathways to increasing carbon sequestration and sustainable economic and ecosystem benefits in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. As part of this project the applicant may develop models to quantify carbon sequestration and economic benefits of wood use in the US Caribbean under several management scenarios. For example, what are the long-term carbon dynamics associated with thinning forests for larger tree growth and using removed trees for biochar or other non-timber products? The candidate will be encouraged to build on existing research on the wood industry and forest resources in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands within a context of internal and external markets. 

Learning ObjectivesResearch activities of the applicant will be carried out in alignment with the USDA Forest Service and USDA Caribbean Climate Hub mission to help US Caribbean society sustain and improve the viability of forestry and agricultural production, the availability and quality of soil and water resources, the viability and quality of rural lifestyles, and food security in light of climate variability and change.

The applicant will be encouraged to develop manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication in collaboration with other USDA Caribbean Climate Hub staff and collaborators. The applicant will have opportunities to collaborate with on-going Caribbean Climate Hub research and science communication projects. The applicant will be expected to maintain and document geospatial and other types of data.

MentorThe mentor(s) for this opportunity is William Gould ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: March 13, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for eighteen months, but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Natural Resources, Forestry, Natural Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Ecology), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before June 30, 2023. Degree must have been received within three years of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience in research related to carbon dynamics, forestry, and climate change.
  • Excellent scientific writing skills
  • Familiarity with climate change, tropical forestry and agriculture in the US Caribbean preferred. 
  • Fluent in English (Spanish a plus but not required)  
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 36 months or anticipated to be received by 6/30/2023 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (5 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (4 )