The mission of the North American Forest Ecology Workshops is “to bring researchers, academicians, and managers together to foster dialogue and discussion of current issues related to basic and applied research in forested ecosystems in North America.” (Terry Sharik, Utah State University, Logan, UT).
The idea of the North American Forest Ecology Workshops was first promoted by John Zasada and Terry Sharik in 1993. It evolved out of the perceived gap between meetings focused on basic science, such as the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, and meetings focused on technology transfer to field foresters, such as the Annual National Convention of the Society of American Foresters (Sharik and Cook 1999). The aim of the NAFEW is to fill this gap and provide opportunities for forest ecologists to meet as a separate group and discuss new findings and trends in basic and applied ecology. NAFEW has now established itself through a series of successful workshops in various parts of North America. Workshops have covered a broad array of topics by addressing different individual conference themes. While the focus of the workshops has shifted towards an emphasis on plant ecology, presentations of work in other sub-disciplines have always provided interesting insights for discussions, and the participation of scientists and managers with a wide variety of expertise is encouraged.