More Recognition for EASI’s Chief Ecologist

The Arkansas Natural Area Plan, written by Tom Foti, was published in 1974.


Foti to Enter the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame.

This past March EASI announced that its chief ecologist, Tom Foti, had been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US Natural Areas Association.

Where Tom is concerned, the accolades seem to keep coming in.

Tom will now be inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation at its annual Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on August 26 in Little Rock. Three such honors will be given to “men and women from across the state who have been instrumental in expanding the use and enjoyment of the state’s outdoor resources, while also broadening conservation education.”

The banquet brochure presents a quick summary of Tom’s conservation contributions in Arkansas:

“For years Arkansas’ foremost ecologist (emphasis added), Tom Foti is widely credited with bringing science to the natural area preservation movement in the state. His career with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission resulted in the creation of several important natural areas, particularly in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of southwestern Arkansas, and served as a model for similar efforts nationwide.”

In the spirit of “similar efforts nationwide,” EASI has also benefitted from Tom’s contributions.

Over the last four years Tom has supported half a dozen wetland and conservation mitigation banking projects on behalf of EASI. The projects range from Florida to Texas, central California and the Bay Area, all the way to Kauai, Hawaii. Over $450 million in gross eco-asset value has been identified for landowners, and the projects have resulted in the creation of the Ironhead Mitigation Bank in south central Florida, in the advancement of conservation options for over nine thousand acres of private land in just those four states. This represents a doubling or tripling of net land value, sometimes captured as appraisal value by such firms as Kidder Mathews, when compared with traditional Yellow Book methods.

“Serving as chief ecologist for EASI has allowed me to to learn more about ecosystems far beyond Arkansas,” Tom said in a recent interview. “I’ve had opportunities to evaluate eco-restoration plans designed to compensate for damaged ecosystem services in a wide range of landscapes,”

Tom has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, followed by Masters Degrees in ecology, botany and electronics and instrumentation… where he learned to integrate microcomputers with mapping and data gathering systems. His ecological consulting work is preceded by twenty years at the Arkansas Natural Areas Commission where he eventually became Chief of Research.  His career has included ten years with the Arkansas Ecology Center where he eventually became Executive Director and oversaw publication of The Arkansas Natural Area Plan (1974)—the first-ever effort to recommend conservation actions based on an area’s common ecological, hydrological, geological and topographic features. Building on Tom’s work, Florida created the Florida Natural Areas Inventory in 1981, for example, and New York created its Open Space Conservation Plan in 1991.

The Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame began in 1992 and has inducted 109 members thus far. Fifteen hundred people are expected to attend the August banquet, held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

For more information contact Tom Foti at, or EASI at