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Faculty Profile
Robert Malmsheimer

Robert  Malmsheimer

Distinguished Teaching Professor

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305 Bray Hall



Dr. Robert Malmsheimer is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Forest Policy and Law at the SUNY ESF, where his research focuses on forest carbon accounting and public policy, and biomass energy and biofuels.  He chaired two Society of American Forester’s Task Forces that evaluated how forests and their products can best address climate change, and co-authored an analysis and summary of 135 peer reviewed science articles on forests and bioenergy.  He also co-authored the the “Forests” chapter of the 3rd U.S. National Climate Assessment.  Malmsheimer has provided more than 150 science-based policy briefing to national and international policymakers, including providing congressional testimony and giving two presentations at the United Kingdom's House of Commons.  He is the recipient of the Sir William Schlich Memorial Award (the pre-eminent award in US forest policy) and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Ph.D., SUNY ESF (Forest Resource Management: Policy and Law), 1999.
J.D. Albany Law School, Union University 1989.
BLA. SUNY ESF (Landscape Architecture), 1986.

Research Interests

My current research interests include:

  • Forest carbon accounting policies' impact on US forests and other natural resources, 
  • Biomass energy and biofuels policies,
  • The policy implications of techno-economic and life cycle assessments of biomass energy and biofuels, and
  • The implementation of New York State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act -- the most aggressive climate change law in the United States.

I am very interested in working with Ph.D., M.S., and M.P.S. students who want to study and conduct research on these topics. I often serve as a Co-Major Professor with Dr. Tristan Brown for students interested in these areas of study.

Admission to ESF is extremely competitive, I enjoy working with highly motivated, mature, intellectually curious students.  Prospective students should have superior grade point averages and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and excellent references.  Since my research focuses exclusively on US-based policies, applicants must have excellent English speaking, listening, and writing skills. My mentor-based M.S. and PhD programs enable students to develop individualized programs of study to meet their educational goals.  If you are interested in working with me, please send me:

  • (1) your vita and
  • (2) a detailed description of your research and work experience, scholarly interests, and educational and professional goals.

Most of my students are supported on as teaching or research graduate assistantships. These Assistantships provide a stipend, tuition waiver, and the ability to purchase discounted health insurance.  Assistantships are for one year, with additional years available upon satisfactory review after the first year.  Research Assistants receive 12 months of funding.  Teaching Assistants receive 9 months of funding (i.e., academic year appointments), with (when available) addition support for research during the summer months.


Research Institutes and Partnerships

I actively participate and am a leader in three research institutes and partnership. I welcomes opportunties to work with stakeholders and graduate students interested in the topics advanced by CAFRI, BDI, and FCVP. If you are interested in doing so, please contact me.

1. The Climate & Applied Forest Research Institute (CAFRI) was founded by SUNY ESF and Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in 2018 to provide policymakers and the public with knowledge and tools so they can make data-driven, practical, efficient, and sustainable decisions about climate solutions, through science-based stewardship of New York's natural and working forest lands.  CAFRI brings together nationally-recognized ESF and Cornell experts in forest ecology and management, climate science and policy, sustainable community development, and renewable energy systems. CAFRI offers advanced capabilities in systems modeling and data science – including life-cycle, technoeconomic, and geospatial assessments – to identify climate mitigation strategies that are scalable and achievable.

2. The Bioeconomy Development Institute (BDI) is a leading research and development organization dedicated to state, regional, and national bioeconomy development efforts. The Bioeconomy capitalizes on Carbon Substitution Benefits and enhances Carbon Sequestration Benefits of using bio-based feedstocks, rather than fossil fuels and fossil fuel based feedstocks. Over the past 30 years ESF has developed a national and international reputation in the bioenergy space with cutting edge work on short rotation woody crops, conversion of woody biomass to biofuels, and more recently both technoeconomic and life cycle assessment of these systems. ESF is a recognized leader in this area by virtue of its research funding, publications, training undergraduate and graduate students, and industry collaborations. Our initial focus is on assisting New York State in the development and implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

3. The Forest + Climate Visualization Partnership (FCVP) is a collaboration between scientists and communication experts at Michigan State University Forest Carbon and Climate Program and ESF's Climate and Applied Forest Research Institute (CAFRI).  FCVP is the premier US-based initiative focused on forest climate visualization education through immersive virtual reality experiences. Our visualizations are science-aligned, data-driven, and effectively communicate the complex relationships between forests, carbon, and climate to a variety of audiences including, but not limited to, corporate decision makers, policy makers, resource managers, education professionals, landowners, students of all levels, municipal agencies, and members of the public. We leverage internationally recognized expertise in forestry, climate sciences, carbon fluxes and storage, and the bioeconomy to translate peer-reviewed data into hyper-realistic forest visualizations and graphic designs to produce immersive, state-of-the-art depictions of forest ecosystem dynamics and carbon sequestration that are founded in science, but accessible to all. 

Policy Activities

Congressional Testimony and Parliamentary Presentations

Malmsheimer, R.W. 2015. Presented on November 19, 2015 in London, UK before the House of Common’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Biomass, on “How Increasing UK Demand for Forest Biomass from the US Will Affect US Forests” at the APPG discussion on “Solving the Energy Trilemma: Flexible Power from Biomass and New Gas.”

Malmsheimer, R.W. 2015. Testified on May 14, 2015 in Washington, DC before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands regarding the results and implications from: 1) Miner. A.M.A., R.W. Malmsheimer, and D.M. Keele. 2014. Twenty years of U.S. Forest Service litigation. Journal of Forestry 112(1):32-40, and 2) Mortimer, M.J., and R.W. Malmsheimer. 2011. The Equal Access to Justice Act and Federal Forest Service Land Management: Incentives to Litigate? Journal of Forestry 109(6):352-358.

Malmsheimer, R.W. 2014. Presented on June 10, 2014 in London, UK before the House of Common’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Biomass, on “Forest Carbon Accounting Considerations in U.S. Bioenergy Policy” at the APPG discussion on “Forest Biomass Energy.” 

Malmsheimer, R.W. 2012. Testified on March 22, 2012 in Washington, DC before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriation Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on behalf of the Society of American Foresters regarding: 1) Forest Health on Public and Private Lands, 2) Barriers to Active Forest Management, and 3) Budget Recommendations on USDA Forest Service and US Department of Interior Appropriations.

Policy Briefings. Since 2001, Dr. Malmsheimer has provided more than 150 science-based policy briefings to national and international legislative and administrative policymakers on Forest Service litigation, forest management and climate change, forest carbon accounting, and numerous other issues, including briefing:

  • US House of Representatives’ and US Senators’ staffs,
  • US administration leaders and offices, such as the Chief of the Forest Service, Undersecretary of Agriculture for National Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, the White House’s Council of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Agriculture’s Chief Economist Office,
  • Legislative and administrative policymakers and their staff in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and European Parliament, and
  • US Embassy staff at the US’s European Union Embassy, US’s UK Embassy, and US’s Netherland’s Embassy. 


Courses Taught

I teach four senior level courses each year.  My courses are well subscribed and very highly rated by students.  Our explorations of course topics focus on the practical implications of policies and laws for natural resource professionals who will manage people and projects in their careers. 

  • FOR 465: Natural Resources Policy (fall) - This course examines US natural resources policies covering agricultural lands, wildfire, land ownernship, marine resources, federal public lands, wildlife and water.
  • FOR 485: Business Law (spring) - This course examines US law governing contracts, business organizations, employers and employees, crimes, torts, landlords and tenants, motor vehicles, and estates. 
  • FOR 487: Environmental Law and Policy (fall) - This course examines US law governing air quality (CAA), water quality (CWA), and hazardous waste (RCRA and CERCLA).
  • FOR 489/689: Natural Resources Law (spring) - This course examines the law governing the management of wildlife and biodiversity, water use, and minerals.


Representative Publications

I began my career developing and analyzing the first US National Forest Litigation Database ​with Dr. Denise Keele (Western Michigan University).  I currrently focus on research addressing (1) biomass energy and biofuels, and (2) forests, carbon, and climate change.


Biomass Energy and Biofuels Publications

Frank, J.*, Brown, T., Bhonagiri, R., Quinn, R., McGiver, K., Fortier, M.O., Malmsheimer, R.W., Volk, T., and T. Dapp. 2022. “Assessing Indian Point's electricity generation through renewable energy pathways:  A technical and economic analysis.” Energy & Environment.

HakSoo H., T. Brown, R.J. Quinn, T.A. Volk, R.W. Malmsheimer, M-O.P. Fortier, J.R. Frank*, and S. Bick. 2021. Economic feasibility of a forest biomass feedstock supply chain in the Northeast U.S. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining. DOI: 10.1002/bbb.2316.

Quinn, R.J., H. Ha, T.A. Volk., T.R. Brown, S. Bick, R.W. Malmsheimer, and M-O P. Fortier. 2020. Life Cycle Assessment of Forest Biomass Energy Feedstock in the Northeast United States. GCB Bioenergy 2020(12):728-741. 

Frank, J.R.*, T.R. Brown, R.W. Malmsheimer, T.A. Volk, and H. Ha. 2020. The Financial Trade-off between the Production of Biochar and Biofuel via Pyrolysis under Uncertainty. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 14:594-604.

Frank, J.R.*, T.R. Brown, T.A. Volk, J.P. Heavey and R.W. Malmsheimer. 2018. A Stochastic Techno-Economic Analysis of Shrub Willow Production Using EcoWillow 3.0S. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining: 12(5):846:856.

Dale, V.H., K.L. Kline, E.S. Parish, A.L. Cowie, R. Emory, R.W. Malmsheimer, R. Slade, C.T. Smith, T.B. Wigley, N.S. Bentsen, G. Berndes, P. Bernier, M. Brandão, H.L. Chum, R. Diaz-Chavez, G. Egnell, L. Gustavsson, J. Schweinle, I. Stupak, P. Trianosky, A. Walter, C. Whittaker, M. Brown, G. Chescheir, I. Dimitriou, C. Donnison, A. Goss Eng, K.P. Hoyt, J.C. Jenkins, K. Johnson, C.A. Levesque, V. Lockhart, M.C. Negri, J.E. Nettles, and M. Wellisch. 2017. Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. 9: 1296-1305.

Ebers, A., and R.W. Malmsheimer, D. Newman, and T.A. Volk. 2016. Inventory and Classification of United States Federal and State Forest Biomass Electricity and Heat Policies. Biomass and Bioenergy 84:67-75.


Forests, Carbon, and Climate Change Publications

Prisley, S.P., C. Gaudreault, P. Lamers, B. Stewart, R. Miner, H.M. Junginger, E. Oneil, R.W. Malmsheimer, T.A. Volk. Comment on Sterman, et al. 2018. “Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Dynamic lifecycle analysis of wood bioenergy”. Environmental Research Letters 13(2018):128002.

Miner, R.A., R.C. Abt, J.L. Bowyer, M.A. Buford, R.W. Malmsheimer, J. O’Laughlin, E.E. Oneil, R.A. Sedjo, and K.E. Skog. 2014. Forest Carbon Accounting Considerations in U.S. Bioenergy Policy. Journal of Forestry 112(6):590-605.

Joyce, L.A., S.W. Running, D.D. Breshears, V.H. Dale, R.W. Malmsheimer, R.N. Sampson, B. Sohngen, and C.W. Woodall. 2014. Chapter 7: Forests. In Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. J.M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G.W. Yohe, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program. 175-194. doi:10.7930/J0Z60KZC.

Malmsheimer, R.W., J.L. Bowyer, J.S. Fried, E. Gee, R. Izlar, R.A. Miner, I.A. Munn, E. Oneil, W.C. Stewart. 2011. Managing Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy. Journal of Forestry 109(7s):7-51.

Malmsheimer, R.W., P. Heffernan, S. Brink, D. Crandall, F. Deneke, C. Galik, E. Gee, J.A. Helms, N. McClure, M. Mortimer, S. Ruddell, M. Smith, and J. Stewart. 2008. Forest management solutions for mitigating climate change in the United States. Journal of Forestry 106(3):115-173.


National Forest Litigatiion Publications

Keele, D.M.*, and R.W. Malmsheimer. 2018. Time Spent in Federal Court: U.S. Forest Service Land Management Litigation 1989-2008. Forest Science 64(2): 170-190.

Keele, D.M.*, and R.W. Malmsheimer. 2016. Is the Ninth Circuit a Liberal Environmental Activist Court? Justice System Journal37(2):115-134.

Miner. A.M.A.*, R.W. Malmsheimer, and D.M. Keele. 2014. Twenty years of U.S. Forest Service litigation. Journal of Forestry112(1):32-40.

Mortimer, M.J., and R.W. Malmsheimer. 2011. The Equal Access to Justice Act and Federal Forest Service Land Management: Incentives to Litigate? Journal of Forestry 109(6):352-358.

Mortimer, M.J., M.J. Stern, R.W. Malmsheimer, D.J. Blahna, L. Cerveny, and D. Seesholtz. 2011. Environmental and social risks: Defensive NEPA in the US Forest Service. Journal of Forestry 109(1):27-33.

Miner. A.M.A.*, R.W. Malmsheimer, D.M. Keele, and M.J. Mortimer. 2010. Twenty years of Forest Service National Environmental Policy Act litigation. Environmental Practice 12(2):116-126.

Keele, D.M.*, R.W. Malmsheimer, D.W. Floyd, and L. Zhang. 2009. An analysis of ideological effects in published versus unpublished judicial opinions. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 6(1):213-239.

Gambino Portuese, B.*, R.W. Malmsheimer, A.M. Anderson*, D.W. Floyd, and D.M. Keele*. 2009. Litigants’ characteristics and outcomes in Forest Service land management cases 1989 to 2005. Journal of Forestry 107(1):16-22.

        *I serve(d) as major professor or co-major professor for this currrent or former graduate student.


Life Time Achievement Awards and Fellowships

SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor. 2022. Conferred upon State University of New York (SUNY) faculty for outstanding teaching competence at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional levels for the consistent demonstration of teaching mastery over multiple years at a SUNY institution.

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. 2019. Recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level in keeping with the SUNY’s commitment to providing its students with instruction of the highest quality.

Sir William Schlich Memorial Award. 2016. The pre-eminent U.S. forest policy award, recognizes broad and outstanding contributions to the field of national and international forest policy. 

Fellow in the Society of American Foresters. 2009. Recognizes long standing service to forestry at the local, state, and national level.


Current Graduate Advisees

Samuel AsamoahSamuel Asamoah

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Malmsheimer and Brown
  • Area of Study: Sustainable Energy

Alex DillAlex Dill

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown and Malmsheimer
  • Area of Study: Sustainable Energy