Charles Ruffner | College of Agricultural Sciences | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Charles Ruffner, Ph.D.

Professor, Forestry

Charles Ruffner
Phone: 618 | 453-7469
Location: Agriculture Building, Room 194-C
Charles M. Ruffner, Ph.D., specializes in old-growth forest ecology and fire history in his research and teaching, and is deeply engaged in service with professional and community groups at multiple scales. Charles’ SIUC Fire Dawg crew works closely with local agencies, landowners, and interest groups to reintroduce prescribed burning to forests and prairies of the Central Hardwoods region. He currently serves as an Illinois Nature Preserves Commissioner, and held recent leadership roles with the Oak Woodlands and Forest Fire Consortium and the Illinois Prescribed Fire Council. Charles leads study abroad groups to Ireland, Scotland, and Bavaria and completed two overseas sabbaticals in Ireland and Afghanistan.  His involvement with farmers and foresters across the developing world includes work with both military and civilian personnel in Venezuela, Panama, Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Lithuania, and Morocco.


Technical Specialties

Aerial Photo Interpretation, GPS and topographic surveying, Forest Watershed and Agricultural Assessments, Land-use History and Land Tenure Issues, Karez-Irrigation Rehabilitation, Dendrochronology and Fire Scar Analysis, Fire Ecology and Prescribed Burning Operations

Professional Interests

International forestry and agricultural development, mapping, cartography, surveying and land tenure relations, erosion control and ground-truthing remotely sensed data, ecological restoration, prescribed burning applications, climate-vegetation interactions, karez improvement and water delivery systems


  • FOR 100 Introduction to Forestry
  • FOR 315 Fire in Wildland Management
  • FOR 351 Forest Measurements
  • FOR 415 Prescribed Burn Planning
  • FOR 494 Natural Resources of Ireland
  • FOR 508 Historical Ecology
  • FOR 531 Disturbance Ecology
  • Forest Resource Summer Camp

Descriptions are available for each of these classes in the course listing for Forestry.


  • Pennsylvania State University [Ph.D. 1999]
  • Pennsylvania State University [MS & BS 1995]
  • US Army Field Artillery Surveyor [1986-1994]


  • Global War on Terror Medal for Civilians OEF 2012-2013
  • NATO Medal w ISAF bar OEF 2012-2013
  • Mississippi Distinguished Civilian Service Medal 2013
  • Governor Appointment-Illinois Nature Preserves Commission Member 2014-present
  • Seven Seals Award- nominated by the Illinois National Guard Bureau, awarded by the Department of Defense: 

For Meritorious leadership and initiative in the training and readiness of the men and women of the Guard and Reserve Forces of the United States. Dec 11, 2011.