Benjamin Boreman Stout worked as a a forestry researcher, professor and university administrator before moving to Oregon in 1985, where he continued his work as a researcher, advocate, and writer. A native of West Virginia, Stout earned a BS in forestry from West Virginia University in 1947, a Master of Forestry in silviculture from Harvard University in 1950, and a Ph.D. in ecology from Rutgers University in 1967. He served as manager of Harvard University's Black Rock Research Forest in Cornwall, New York from 1950 to 1959 when he joined the faculty of Rutgers University in forestry. He was appointed an Associate Provost at Rutgers during his tenure there and became Dean of Forestry at the University of Montana in 1978. His research interests were hardwood silviculture, biophysical relationships in trees, and analysis of complex ecological systems.
In 1985, he joined the West Coast Regional Center of the National Council of the Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) in Corvallis, Oregon as the National Air Quality/Forest Health Program Manager. He retired from the position in 1988 and moved to Albany, Oregon.
Stout remained active during his retirement as a researcher, writer, and advocate in forestry and natural resources issues. He served as the senior natural resources advisor for his local state legislator, Liz Van Leeuwen, and on the Board of Directors of the Oregon State Fish Hatchery. From 1988 to 2002, he held a courtesy appointment in the Oregon State University College of Forestry. He authored numerous scientific articles and two books on natural resources, including The Northern Spotted Owl: An Oregon View which describes the history of northwest forest legislation in the the 1980s and 1990s. Stout died in 2007.
The Benjamin B. Stout Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Stout in the course of his work as a forestry researcher, university professor and administrator, writer, and advisor and advocate on natural resources policy. The Papers include articles, essays, and other publications; correspondence; presentations and speeches; research data; and reference materials. Stout's publications and presentations reflect a diversity of topics, including forest monitoring programs, declines in pine growth, forest growth simulation, and height-diameter studies of trees as a sign of productivity. Correspondents represented in the collection include fellow academics, including Hugh Raup; foresters; governmental agencies; natural resource organizations; and state and federal legislators including Oregon State Representative Liz Van Leeuwen, Congressmen Mike Kopetski and Peter De Fazio, and Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith. The collection also includes materials documenting Stout's work for the National Council of the Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement such as research publications, conference and workshop presentations, correspondence with academic colleagues.
The reference materials comprise about a third of the collection and include reports, publications, newspaper clippings, maps, and articles documenting various forestry, ecology, and natural resource management topics. In addition to the controversial listing of the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet as protected endangered species in Oregon, the materials address global warming, historical overviews of the timber industry in Oregon, cumulative effects of forest practices in Oregon, and Harvard University's research forest.