In a school that deals with the processes of nature, it is perhaps appropriate that spring has brought growth.

The School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has seen a 36 percent rise in applications and has hired four new assistant professors.

The Environment School announced last week that it has received 472 applications for the upcoming year, an increase of 124 applicants from last year.

David DeFusco, the school’s Director of Communications for the School said the national economic downturn has spurred a rise in applications at many graduate institutions.

“There’s an inverse relationship between the economy and the applications — when the economy isn’t doing well, our applications increase,” DeFusco said.

Even so, Admissions Director Emly McDiarmid said she thinks many students are attracted to the school itself.

“There’s a lot of intellectual ferment here,” McDiarmid said.

The Environment School’s faculty development initiative has brought in 14 new faculty members, including the four new assistant professors, over the past two years.

The new faculty members are Sheila Cavanagh, an assistant professor of environmental and natural resource economics; Marian Chertow, an assistant professor of industrial environmental management; Erin Mansur, who has a joint appointment at the Yale School of Management to be an assistant professor of energy and environmental economics; and Peter Raymond, an assistant professor of ecosystem ecology.

“We are very pleased that these extremely promising scholars will be joining our expanding program,” Environment School Dean James Gustave Speth said in a press release.

“They are committed to outstanding scholarship but also have the commitment to practice environmental management that we seek.”

DeFusco said the new hires will strengthen the school’s programs in environmental and energy economics, industrial environmental management and ecosystem ecology.

He said that the school has also made an effort to add diversity to its faculty and has hired new women faculty members.

DeFusco added that the faculty is a selling point for the Environment School.

“I think that students are starting to recognize the outstanding quality of our faculty, and that’s why students come or go to any school,” DeFusco said.

The school has launched other efforts in the hopes of attracting students, hiring McDiarmid as its first admisssions director last year.

McDiarmid said she has been working to publicize the school, promote outreach events and send out information via e-mail.

“The increased personal contact is important to students, and the ability to get more information from us is [as well],” she said.

McDiarmid said that this year the Environment School admitted 220 students and is aiming for a class of 110 students.

As applications rise and new faculty members arrive, McDiarmid said, the growth in the faculty is symbolic of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies’ atmosphere at the moment.

“I think there’s a lot going on here right now,” McDiarmid said. “It’s a very exciting place to be.”