John A. Witter

Professor Emeritus


PhD, University of Minnesota (1971)
MS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1967)
BS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1965) 


John A. Witter, Ph.D., professor of forestry in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, retired from active faculty status on February 28, 2011. He joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor of forestry in 1972, and was promoted to associate professor in 1976 and professor in 1984. From 2000-2010 he held the George Willis Pack Professorship in Forest Entomology.

Professor Witter is an outstanding teacher and mentor who is known for his great enthusiasm, rapport with students, and ability to make learning fun. In his lengthy career, he taught more than 3,000 undergraduate students in field-oriented courses, such as biology and management of insects, applied ecology, and integrative field studies. He also played a central role in advising graduate students, having chaired and served on numerous doctoral and master's degree thesis committees.


Professor Witter is known nationally and internationally for his research on the population dynamics and impacts of lepidopterous defoliators, such as the gypsy moth, spruce budworm, and forest tent caterpillar, and for his extensive studies on the effects of multiple disturbances in urban and rural forests.

Select publications: 

He is the author of numerous publications, including a well-known textbook, Forest Entomology: Ecology and Management.


Professor Witter has worked extensively with the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and other agencies to make research results on forestry and insects available and understandable to the general public, and has served on technical advisory committees and blue ribbon panels on these issues.

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