Sustainable Bioproducts/FWRC's Owens elected to international council

By: Vanessa Beeson

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Posted: 3/21/2024

Sustainable Bioproducts/FWRC's Owens elected to international council Photo By: Photo Submitted

Frank Owens, associate professor in the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts in MSU's College of Forest Resources, was recently reelected to the Council of the International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA). Owens, who is also the current vice president of the Forest Products Society, is the only council member from North America. Having been a council member for the past three years, he will serve another three-year term, which will cap off his consecutive two term limit.

Owens said he's proud to serve on the 12-member council, which is responsible for the IAWA's governance.

"Founded in 1931, the IAWA has a long and rich history. It has existed longer than both the Forest Products Society and the Society of Wood Science and Technology. It is truly a global organization with members from every corner of the world. I serve on the board with wood anatomists from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Japan, South Korea and China. Many of us are engaged in important work developing methods to combat illegal logging and timber trade. The IAWA also publishes a respected journal," he said.

Owens, who is also a scientist in the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center, has worked in the forest products industry for more than a decade in the U.S., Japan and the United Emirates. In his term, he will focus on increasing awareness of wood anatomy and expand opportunities for the next generation to gain wood identification experience. He accomplishes this through his role at MSU and through an online presence, focusing on such topics as DNA-based wood identification, computer-vision wood identification and wood identification practices in various countries, to name a few.

Rubin Shmulsky, professor and head of the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, noted Owens' blend of industry and academic experience make him an ideal fit to serve in the role.

"It's a great source of pride to see our faculty achieve this type of international recognition. Dr. Owens is set apart from many others because he not only embraces the scholarship of automated wood identification, but he also brings with him more than a decade of international lumber trading experience where he learned, first hand, the critical role of this work in promoting a level-playing-field for U.S. lumber producers around the world," he said.

For more on the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, visit For more on the College of Forest Resources, visit

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Vanessa Beeson | Agriculture and Natural Resources Marketing

Forest Products