Ashton — who was once a student of Smith’s — began teaching silviculture and forest ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) in 1991, taking over as director of the Yale Forests in 2000. His research focuses on tree regeneration and the development of restoration and regeneration methods for temperate and tropical broadleaf forests.
“For me, it truly is an honor to have been awarded a prize that was named for my own advisor,” said Ashton.
Smith, who passed away in 2009, spent nearly his entire career teaching at Yale, with stints as the associate dean of F&ES and as Director of the Yale Forests from 1950 to 1990. In the 1950s, he obtained a Hartford Foundation grant that added many natural science positions to the F&ES faculty. In the 1970s, he served on U.S. presidential advisory panel on the nation’s timber resources and the environment.
Smith was the author of the sixth through ninth editions of “The Practice of Silviculture,” considered by many to be the world’s definitive guide on forest management, and originally written by Yale’s first professor of silviculture, Ralph Hawley, in 1921. Ashton joined Smith as the co-author in 1997, published the tenth edition in 2018, and is currently working on the next edition.