Jim Matthews

Jim Matthews, PH.D.
Senior Biologist/Chairman of the Board


  • 1962 Ph.D. Emory University, Atlanta GA, Cytogenetics
  • 1959 M.S. Cornell University, Ithaca NY, Taxonomy/Ecology
  • 1957 B.A. Atlantic Christian (Barton) College, Wilson NC, Biology Major

Current Position and Background:

  • Dr. Matthews is the founder and now serves as Chairman of the Board of Habitat Assessment and Restoration Professionals (HARP). Prior to founding HARP he was professor of Biology with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte beginning in 1964. He became a full professor in 1972, and served as chairman of the Biology Department from 1994-1996. Currently, he is retired from teaching and holds the status of Professor Emeritus.

Professional Experience:

  • Dr. Matthews has over 45 years experience in the study of the plants, ecology and natural communities in the Carolinas. He has performed Threatened and Endangered Surveys on 10000's of acres in North and South Carolina. He has been instrumental in preserving many tracts of land for regional land conservancies, local and state parks, and municipalities. He is regularly called upon to asses tracts of land for their value as natural habitats with an eye towards preservation or restoration.
  • Dr. Matthews has been the author or co-author on 27 scientific papers. He has been a Contributing Member of four professional societies: American Society of Plant Taxonomists, International Association of Plant Taxonomists, Southern Appalachian Botanical Society and Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Dr. Matthews has been the recipient of the following professional awards:

  • North Carolina National Bank Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Governor's Award for Excellence, State of North Carolina, Environmental Activity
  • Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award for Distinguished Service
  • Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Commission, Environmental Excellence Award

Dr. Matthews has served previously or currently on the following committees/boards and contributed to these publications:

  • Executive Committee, Association of Southeastern Biologists
  • National Natural Landmarks Evaluator, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, (U.S. Dept. of Interior)
  • Co-chairman and Organizer for Symposium on Recognition and Protection of Natural Areas of the Southeastern U.S.
  • Co-Chairman of Rocky River Bluffs Natural Landmark Acquisition Committee, to raise $16,000 for purchase of this landmark, Academic Research and Contracts Officer, UNC Charlotte 1974-75
  • Chairman, Charlotte Parks Bond Advisory Committee, responsible for a budget of $10 million for park acquisition and development
  • Developed Nature Preserve Guidelines for City and County Advisor to Charlotte Advisory Parks Committee
  • Co-authored Nature Trail Guide for Chimney Rock Park
  • Co-authored Teacher's Nature Guide to Chimney Rock Park
  • Helped develop Field Station for UNCCharlote at Chimney Rock Park
  • Arranged for Development and Conservation meeting of owners of 4,000 acres of land in Hickory Nut Gorge
  • Bat Cave Stewardship Committee
  • Co-convener of Carolinas Collections Colloquium, a forum for the herbarium curators in the Carolinas:
  • UNC-Chapel Hill 1985, Columbia, SC 1987 and UNCCharlotte 1989.
  • Workshop for U.S. Dept. of Agriculture -Soil Conservation Service, Wetland Plant Identification Co-host (with R.L. Kologiski) for S.E. Regional Wetlands Review Panel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • Chairman, Local Arrangements Committee, Association of Southeastern Biologists, 1989
  • Appointed to Mecklenburg County Citizens Environmental Advisory Council, under Mecklenburg Co. Park and Recreation Commission, 1992-2004.
  • Council to oversee the environmental issues within the Park and
  • Recreation Division. Initial project was the development of a natural heritage survey for the county.
  • Oversaw two Field Investigators to survey land mass of Mecklenburg Co. for potential natural areas
  • Arranged for acquisition of Davidson College Herbarium, 19,000 specimens
  • Chair, Department of Biology, 1994-96.
  • Retired, Professor Emeritus, July 1996.
  • Founded HARP, 1996
  • CEO of Habitat Assessment and Restoration Program, Inc. 1996-2006
  • Present Senior Biologist/Chairman of the Board of Directors for Habitat Assessment and Restoration Program, Inc.
  • Honored with the dedication of the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies facility for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. This center has animal and plant collections for Mecklenburg County and the southern Piedmont and the Southeast, having in excess of 70,000 specimens.

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