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Raphael Zon

Raphael Zon
Born December 1, 1874
Simbirsk, Russia
Died October 27, 1956
Citizenship United States (naturalized)
Nationality Russian
Fields Forestry
Institutions United States Forest Service
Alma mater Cornell University
Known for first attempt of a systematic inventory of the earth's forests; first complete map of native vegetation of United States; technical director, Prairie States Forestry Project; pioneered studies of the relation of forests to streams and flooding
Notable awards Gifford Pinchot Medal

Raphael Zon (December 1, 1874 - October 27, 1956) was a prominent U.S. Forest Service researcher.



Raphael Zon was born in Simbirsk, Russia in 1874. He fled Russia in 1896 while on bail following arrest for organizing a trade union. Zon and companion Anna Puziriskaya, whom he would later marry, fled to Belgium where he studied in Liége.[1] He spent nine months in London before emigrating to the United States in 1898.[2] Zon studied forestry at the New York State College of Forestry at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, earning a professional degree of Forest Engineer (F.E.) in the college's first graduating class in 1901. Upon graduation, he went to work for the U.S. Forest Service, where his career spanned 43 years as a forest researcher. A large stone memorial with plaque commemorating Zon stands at the Cutfoot Sioux Experimental Forest, near where his ashes were scattered.[3]


  • 1901. U.S. Forest Service Student Assistant and assistant to forest investigations in the East
  • 1907. Chief, Office of Silvics, later Forest Investigations
  • 1920. Special investigations in forest economics
  • 1923. Director, Lakes States Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 1923-1928 Director, Cloquet Forest Experiment Station, University of Minnesota
  • 1944. Retired, U.S. Forest Service [4]

Professional Accomplishments

  • 1908. Proposed the establishment of decentralized U.S. Forest Experiment Stations
  • 1914. Charter member, Ecological Society of America[5]
  • 1918. National Research Council, Division of Agriculture, Botany, Forestry, Fisheries and Zoology Executive Committee
  • 1923-1928. Editor-in-chief, Journal of Forestry
  • 1928. International Congress of Soil Science, American vice president of the subcommision of forest soils
  • 1930. Charles Lathrop Pack Forest Education Board[6]
  • 1940. New York World's Fair "Foreign-born citizens judged to have made the most notable contributions to American democracy in the past 100 years"
  • Fellow, Society of American Foresters
  • 1952. Gifford Pinchot Medal, Society of American Foresters[7]
  • 2005. U.S. Forest Service Centennial Congress Science Leadership Award[8]
  • Authored or co-authored roughly 200 articles in professional journals, business and development publicaitons, or popular magazines[9]


  1. ^ Rudolf, P.O., 1957. R. Zon, pioneer in forest research. Science New Series, Vol. 125, No. 3261. (Jun. 28, 1957), pp. 1283-1284.
  2. ^ Pinchot, G., 1945. We present. Journal of Forestry. 43(12):927-928.
  3. ^ Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p.
  4. ^ University of North Carolina at Asheville, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections/University Archives
  5. ^ ESA History
  6. ^ Science 7 March 1930: Vol. 71. no. 1836, p. 258
  7. ^ Society of American Foresters Pinchot Medal
  8. ^ American Trails, National Trails Training Partnership article on Federal Land Management
  9. ^ Schmaltz, N.J. 1980. Forest researcher Raphael Zon. Journal of Forest History 24:24-39.

External links



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