Justin Kunkle

Justin Kunkle

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Director of Undergraduate Studies & Academic Advisor
Department of Forestry



Ph.D. in Forestry, Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, 2008

B.A. in Biology, Environmental Studies Minor, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. 2000

Justin Kunkle is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Academic Advisor in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University. Dr. Kunkle has a research background in forest ecology and plant ecophysiology. In recent years, his focus has been on creating sustainable pathways to natural resources education and careers for students traditionally underrepresented in related fields. He is a co-developer of the MSU Forestry Multicultural Apprenticeship Program, a four-week residential program for high school students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups. This program combines a residential college experience with a project-based immersion experience in Urban Forestry. He is also the director of the Multicultural Scholars Program, a novel, integrated scholarship program that provides financial (four years of in-state tuition), academic and social support for participants from their senior year of high school, through their undergraduate forestry degree program, and through their transition into the workforce. He has worked closely with community leaders in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Muskegon to recruit students for both programs.


Recent Grants Awarded

Kunkle, J., Showerman, R., Barron, M., Rinsema-Sybenga, D., Rothstein, D., Randall, J., Rivera, J., Dowtin, A., Black, B. (2020-2023) A New Model for Forestry Education in Underrepresented and Rural Communities: A Strategic Alliance for Building, Expanding and Sustaining Pathways to Careers in Forestry. US Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture/USDANIFA-CGP-006538. $790,000. 

Randall, J., Kunkle, J. (2020-2023) Creating the next generation of modern maple producers by pairing the Land Grant University Mission with FFA student chapters, Tribal entities, and Forestry Clubs across the Upper Midwest. US Department of Agriculture/USDA AMS ACER. $449,653.13

Rothstein, D., Boxe, C., Kunkle, J., Skeete, D., Huff, E., Shin, J., Dowtin, A., Salako, O., Seaborn, P. (2019-2022) Training a new generation of forestry professionals: a 3+2 partnership between Medgar Evers College and Michigan State University. US Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture/USDANIFA-CGP-006538. $299,778.

Dowtin, A., Kunkle, J., Rothstein, D., Seaborn, P. (2019-2021) Recruiting and Retaining the Next Generation of Multicultural Forestry Professionals. SFI Inc.’s Community Engagement Grant Program. $22,500.

Kunkle, J., Rothstein, D., Huff, E., Rivera, J., Chau, S., Galitzine, K., Seaborn, P. (2018-2023) Seeding the Ground: Growing the Next Generation of Multicultural Forestry Professionals. US Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture/USDA-NIFA-HEMS-006391. $160,000.

Kunkle, J., Galitzine, K., Huff, E., Rothstein, D. (2017-2018) From Roots to Branches: A Diversity and Inclusion Plan for Michigan State’s Forestry Program. CIEG Award, Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, MSU. $26,000.



Walters, M.B., J.M. Kunkle, R.K. Kobe, E.J. Farinosi. 2023. Seedling drought responses governed by root traits, site-soil moisture regimes and overstory competition-facilitation. Forest Ecology and Management 544: 121159.

Scoffoni, C. J.M. Kunkle, J. Pasquet-Kok, C. Vuong, A.J. Patel, R.A. Montgomery, T.J. Givnish and L. Sack 2014. The integrated light-induced plasticity of leaf hydraulics, gas exchange and anatomy: testing hypotheses in Hawaiian lobeliads diverse in light adaptation. New Phytologist 207: 43-58.

Kunkle, J.M., M.B. Walters and R.K. Kobe. 2009. Senescence related changes in nitrogen in fine roots: mass loss affects estimation. Tree Physiology 29:715-723.

Wilke, B. J. and J.M. Kunkle. February 2009, posting date. What does agriculture have to do with climate change? Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 6: Issues Figure Set #3 [online]. www.esa.org/tiee/vol/v6/figure_sets/climate_change/abstract.html