2015 Lecturer | Dr. Douglas Karlen

About the Lecturer

Dr. Douglas L. Karlen is a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (NLAE) in Ames, IA. He is co-leader for the ARS Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices (REAP) team, a multi-location research effort focusing on sustainable agricultural production systems that include the harvest of crop residues for bioenergy and bio-products.

Doug served on a U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel associated with the America’s Energy Future project and was a contributing author for the “Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuels” chapter. His research program uses soil quality assessment as a tool to quantify effects of soil and crop management practices including tillage, crop rotation, nutrient management, manure management and most recently crop residue removal on the sustainability of agricultural management systems.

Current research focus of Dr. Karlen include:

  • Quantifying physical, chemical, and biological effects of harvesting crop residues.
  • Involving producers, action agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), agribusiness, and other state and federal research partners in evaluations of conventional and organic farming practices.

Dr. Karlen is a fellow of the:

  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • Soil & Water Conservation Society

He was Associate Editor (1987-1993) and Technical Editor (1993-1999) for Crop Science; Chair, Soil and Water Conservation and Management Division for the SSSA (1993).

Dr. Karlen is author or co-author for 212 refereed journal articles and 150 refereed proceedings, book chapters, and non-technical publications.


  • ASA Agronomic Achievement in Soils, Agronomic Research Award
  • Warner L. Nelson Diagnosis of Yield-Limiting Factors, and Environmental Quality Awards
  • SSSA Soil Science Applied Research and Soil Science Research Awards
  • SWCS Conservation Research and Leadership Awards
  • Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science & Engineering and the Sterling Registry
  • Recipient of several USDA-ARS Certificates of Merit


  • 1978: Ph.D., Agronomy, Kansas State University
  • 1975: M.S., Soil Science, Michigan State University
  • 1973: B.S., Soil Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison