Photo of Thomas P. Holmes

Thomas P. Holmes

Emeritus Scientist
Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 12254
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone: 919-549-4031

Current Research

My overall research goal is to describe how healthy forests contribute to individual and societal well-being over the long run. Much of my current research is focused on understanding how non-market valuation methods can be used to quantify a broad suite of forest ecosystem service values. I'm also currently researching topics in wilderness economics, behavioral economics, invasive species, climate change, wildfire risk, and conservation policy.


Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics, 1986
University of Connecticut

Professional Experience

Research Forester, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Economist, Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture

Awards and Recognition

Sören Wibe Award, 2012
Awarded by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for best journal article published in the Journal of Forest Economics during the previous 2 years.
Southern Research Station: Director's Team Award for Natural Resource Stewardship, 2008
In recognition of contributions made by publishing the book “The Economics of Forest Disturbances – Wildfires, Storms, and Invasive Species".

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Analyzing How to Increase Fireline Production Efficiency (2014)
SRS-2014-158 Operational data on fireline production rates are generally lower than the rates identified by expert panel estimates. This study found the lower operational rates can be linked to excessive firefighter fatigue, safety considerations, and likely suboptimal managerial decision making.

Economics and Spread of Invasives (2010)
SRS-2010-004 An SRS scientist recently led an interdisciplinary team that proposed new methods for evaluating the economic damages of invasive species on forests. The research indicates that policies that shift the burden of economic impacts from taxpayers and forest landowners onto parties responsible for introducing invasives may be most effective at reducing their impacts.

Estimating the contribution of forests to the economic value of water resource ecosystem services (2018)
SRS-2018-50 Forest vegetation is a valuable source of natural capital. Changes in forest cover could affect water resources. This study describes how to estimate the ecosystem service values of water resources from forest landscapes.

Wilderness areas contribute to economic health of rural communities (2017)
SRS-2017-141 Forest Service scientists Tom Holmes and Eric White collaborated with Evan Hjerpe of the Conservation Economics Institute to estimate the economic benefits to rural communities that serve as gateways to U.S. wilderness areas. Their research shows that nearly 10 million people per year visit wilderness areas and spend about $500 million in adjacent communities. Annual visitor expenditures generate about 5,700 jobs, resulting in over $700 million in total economic output.