Tom Foti
Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission
Little Rock, Arkansas

Mr. Tom Foti’s three-decade career has had a great impact on the wetlands of Arkansas. His work at the Arkansas Ecology Center helped save the Cache River, now a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, from channelization. Mr. Foti conducted the first inventory of natural areas in Arkansas, which resulted in his publication of “The Natural Divisions of Arkansas” in The Natural Area Plan, and the creation of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC).

Since joining the ANHC in 1985, Mr. Foti has identified and protected natural communities of the state, including many uncommon wetlands. He coauthored the hydrogeomorphic classification of Arkansas wetlands and the five regional guidebooks for HGM assessment in Arkansas. He worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve and subdivide Arkansas’s ecoregions and with NatureServe to refine the U.S. National Vegetation Classification to better reflect wetland diversity in the state.

Because of Mr. Foti’s involvement in a broad range of projects, a consistency is emerging in the way that the state and its partners describe, restore, and manage wetlands within the greater context of their ecological systems, ecoregions, and the state as a whole. Finally, Mr. Foti also is a highly productive author whose works range from technical research papers to popular works for general audiences, including school children.