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National Capacity in Forestry Research (2002)

Chapter:2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues

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Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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2 The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues

Public and private forest managers, related professionals, citizen conservationists, and officials responsible for forest policy all perform optimally when their actions are based in part on knowledge derived from research. Many forestry-related decisions and actions required of individuals and institutions have become much more complex as new management paradigms, such as ecosystem management and ecologic sustainability, have been developed to address growing societal concerns.

Ensuring an adequate and appropriate knowledge base to address current and future needs in forestry research requires an integrated, coordinated approach to education and research. A 1964 report by the National Research Council stated that “education can be of highest quality only if it is conducted as part of the research process itself” (National Research Council, 1964). There is general agreement in the forestry profession that a graduate degree, usually a doctorate, is necessary if one wishes to conduct specialized forestry research (Pinchot Institute for Conservation, 2000). By educating students in the context of research, the American system of graduate education has set the world standard for preparing scientists for research careers in academe, government, private industry, and other organizations. In forestry, as in most sciences, education and research are often inextricably linked. Emerging knowledge needs will be met by education and research that address complex social, political, and technical issues. Forestry education and research today should be interdisciplinary and visionary in anticipating societal needs. Success depends on essential foundation knowledge that has been the backbone of forest management for many years. Foundation knowledge is the key to meeting society's ever-growing demand for forest-based products.

Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Over the last decade, a number of studies have identified and recommended new directions—actually expanded directions more than replacement directions—for forestry education and research (American Forest Congress, 1996; Ginger et al., 1999; Ellefson and Ek, 1996; Committee of Scientists, 1999). Much of the knowledge base needed to address forest-related issues in the early decades of the 21st century has been identified and enumerated in these studies. In addition, advice solicited from experts for the present report revealed that the following topics have the highest priority.

Foundation forestry education and research:

  • Biology, ecology, and silviculture

  • Forest genetics

  • Forest management, economics, and policy

  • Wood and materials science

Emerging forestry education and research:

  • Human and natural resource interactions

  • Ecosystem function, health, and management

  • Forest systems on various scales of space and time

  • Forest monitoring, analysis, and adaptive management

  • Forest biotechnology

The division into priorities among foundation and emerging forestry education and research reinforces the needs for traditional education and research functions, but in a new context, and for extending our knowledge to relatively new disciplines, which are rapidly becoming more important. Foundation programs are required as the base on which new research will be built. Furthermore, the basic programs and applied forestry sciences are becoming far better grounded and supported by advances in the emerging fields. It is essential that decision-makers in both the public and the private sectors understand and support these dual forestry education and research needs.

Basic programs and basic science (especially foundation research) have made exceptional advances in rigor, depth of understanding, and potential for enhanced sustainable forest management in the last decade. Basic biotechnology, genomic science, tree breeding, and forest physiology promise to allow us to triple or quintuple rates of forest growth per unit area and to impart disease and insect resistance on intensively managed lands. Foundation research also can allow us to select trees that have desirable wood properties and to manipulate their cell and wood structure (genetics) and environment to produce more uniform wood with targeted wood properties for industrial applications. Foundation genetics education and research allow us to examine questions of genetic diversity at the cell, stand, or landscape level. Sustainable forest management promises to focus efforts on extending traditional sustained-yield forestry to multiple scales, periods, goods and services, and forest interest groups; this will increase our

Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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ability to provide economic development, ensure environmental protection, and improve community welfare.

Emerging forestry education and research have become more important over the last decade. To some extent, these disciplines constitute not new fields, but rather new and more integrative ways of viewing foundation disciplines and their applications to forest-resource management. An extensive review and summary of scientific disciplines important to forestry and renewable resources published in 1983 remains relevant today (University of Idaho, 1983). Human and natural resource interactions have always been important, but are stressed more as the number of people increases and the forest area decreases. Ecosystem function and management were initiated as a public-land management paradigm a decade ago and have become widely adopted on public lands since. Forest systems at the landscape, national, and international levels—for present and future generations—have become more important. As sustainable forest management becomes a widespread forestry paradigm, measuring and monitoring the status of forests and progress in enhancing forest condition become more important.

KNOWLEDGE BASE REQUIRED

The foundation and emerging priority education and research areas integrate the literature, comments, and workshop input that the study committee received regarding the knowledge base required to ensure adequate future national capacity in forestry research. In fact, the information gathered on the knowledge base required essentially defined a broad set of forestry issues that merit further study. In this chapter, some of the critical education and research needs are summarized that were identified throughout the study process; curriculum needs and models for education are addressed in depth in Chapter 4. Choosing and classifying high-priority education and research needs is a somewhat presumptuous and daunting task, given the wealth of published literature, public discussions and forums, and interest groups that have a stake in such questions. For simplicity, some of the principal education and research priorities issued by selected processes and interest group are reviewed, summarized, and then assessed in accordance with the categories provided above. A similar process was used with regard to comments provided to the committee during its July 15–16, 1999, workshop (see Appendix A for the workshop agenda and Appendix B for the breakout-group discussion topics).

Necessary knowledge will be acquired through education that provides the intellectual resources for future forestry research based on well-defined priorities. The National Research Council (1990) listed five research priorities—biology of forest organisms, ecosystem function and management, human-forest interactions, wood as a raw material, and international trade, competition, and cooperation. The 1996 American Forest Congress identified research priorities for each major region of the country. The Northeast Region used the 1990 National Research Council report priorities as a template for its 1996 congress. The other four regions developed their own research priorities. The forest industry developed research priorities through their participation in the Department of Energy Agenda 2020 competitive research process. The Forest Service Forest Experiment Stations have developed strategic plans that outline research priorities

Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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for their regions. Table 2–1 summarizes research and education priorities according to various sources. They suggest a wide variety of research and supporting education needs for the nation, and they are discussed below in the context of foundation and emerging education and research priorities.

Foundation Education and Research Priorities

Each of the organizations that identified research priorities had a mix of activities in each of the four categories of foundation, forestry, education, and research presented at the beginning of this chapter. On the basis of the education and research priorities listed in Table 2–1, one could consolidate subjects in the four categories:

    Biology, ecology, and silviculture. Biology of forest organisms, sustainable forest productivity, long-term soil productivity, basic physiology of forest trees biochemistry, and proactive pest management.

    Forest genetics. Genetics, identification of major traits, tree breeding, genetics by environment interactions..

    Forest management, economics, and policy. Sustainable forestry and land stewardship, impact of regulations on forestry, livestock grazing, fire, management policies for public lands, socioeconomic and political factors and effectiveness, urban-rural issues, improvement in productivity and harvesting technology, decision-support and management models and international trade, competition, and cooperation.

    Wood and materials science. Wood as raw material, forest use, and wood and fiber production.

Emerging Education and Research Priorities

On the basis of the priorities listed in Table 2–1, one could consolidate the following subjects in the five categories of emerging forestry education and research presented at the beginning of this chapter:

    Human and natural resource interactions. Human-forest interactions; socialscience methods; enrichment of recreation user experiences; communication of results to users; infrastructure development; economic, regulatory, and demographic factors; small landowners' production of high-value and special products; economics of nontimber resources; and wilderness, recreation, tourism, and aesthetics.

    Ecosystem function, health, and management. Ecosystem structure, function, process, and management; water quality and forested wetlands and protection; enhancement of health and productivity; rehabilitation and recovery efforts; wildlife habitat in managed forests; and biodiversity, ecosystem management, and adaptive management.

    Forest systems on various scales of space and time. Water, watersheds, and riparian zones; cumulative effects; and climate-change impacts.

Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Table 2–1. Comparative Forestry-Science Education and Research Priorities According to Selected Sources.

------ Education ------

--------- Research ---------

Pinchot Institute for Conservation (2000)

NRC (1990) & American Forest Congress: Northeast (1996)

American Forest Congress: South (1996)

American Forest Congress: Lake States (1996)

American Forest Congress: Pacific Northwest (1996)

American Forest Congress: Pacific Southwest (1996)

Forest Industry Agenda 2020 (1996)

• Silviculture systems

• Forest ecology

• Forest inventory and biometry

• Species identification

• Forest soils

• Wildlife biology

• Communication

• Ethics

• Leadership

• Collaborative problem-solving

• Biology of forest organisms

• Ecosystem function and management

• Human-forest interactions

• Wood as raw material

• International trade, competition, and cooperation

• Sustainable forest productivity

• Water quality and forested wetlands

• Decision support and management models

• Forest inventory, analysis, and growth

• Ecosystem structure, function, and process

• Socialscience methods

• Forest use

• Monitoring resources

• Enhancing health and productivity

• Improving productivity and harvesting technology

• Protection of water resources

• Enrichment of recreation user experiences

• Improved rawmaterial use

• Enhancing resource management policy effectiveness

• Communicatio n of results to users

• Infrastructure development

• Economic, regulatory, and demographic factors

• Small loss production of high-value products

• Rehabilitation and recovery efforts

• Wildlife habitat in managed forests

• Climate-change impacts

• Biodiversity, ecologic management, and adaptive management

• Long-term soil productivity

• Watershed cumulative effects

• Systems to integrate resource information

• Basic physiology of forest trees

• Impact of regulations on industry

• Sustainable forestry

• Proactive pest management

• Economics/nontimber resources

• Demographic characteristics

• Socioeconomic and political factors

• Urban-rural issues

• Management policies for public lands

• Sustainability and land stewardship

• Forest health and biodiversity

• Fire

• Wood and fiber production

• Wildlife habitat and endangered species

• Livestock grazing

• Recreation, tourism, and aesthetics

• Water, watersheds, riparian

• Special products

• biotechnology to locate important quantitative genes

• biotechnology tools for genetic transformation in trees

• tissue-culture technology for trees

• physiology research to accelerate plant growth

• physiology to support genetic engineering

• physiology and forest and ecosystem management

• Sustainable soil productivity

• intensive management effects and site productivity

• soil limits on site productivity

• treatments to enhance soil productivity

• improvement in forest-inventory program

• monitoring of forest health and productivity

Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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  • Forest monitoring, analysis, and adaptive management. Inventory methods and resource analysis, monitoring of resources, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), and systems to integrate resource information.

  • Forest biotechnology. Biotechnology, location of important quantitative genes, tools for genetic transformation, and tissue culture.

  • Stewardship and Sustainability of Public Lands

    A recent analysis of the management needs for national forests provided a way to examine research needs for public lands. The Committee of Scientists (COS) report, Sustaining the People's Lands (1999) calls for the stewardship of the national forests and grasslands to be guided by principles of sustainability and the recognition that these are the people's lands. To achieve ecologic sustainability, the report articulates a challenging list of principles, including acknowledgment of the dynamic nature of ecologic systems and the identification of human uses that contribute to long-term sustainability. All the principles have profound implications for research.

    For some of the COS principles, a considerable body of work has been done to understand and practice ecosystem management. An example is “involve the scientific community in developing strategies for maintaining ecologic, economic, and social sustainability.” Other principles involve new concepts for research, such as “recognizing that planning and management of public lands proceeds under legitimate but often divergent, interests.” This seems to speak to the heart of what must be understood if the American public is to respect and support forest management as an essential part of society. Sustaining the People's Lands offers a blueprint for identifying many of the complex (multidisciplinary) kinds of research needed to provide the knowledge base for 21st century public-land forestry management. Similarly, the host of reports that have been written on ecosystem management identifies numerous complex subjects that need research.

    Sustaining the People's Lands overlaps substantially with Forestry Research: A Mandate for Change (National Research Council, 1990) in recommended actions. The need for knowledge in human-forest interaction (these are the people's lands) and ecosystem function and management (ecologic sustainability) presents priorities that have met the dual tests of time and separate review.

    Sustainable-Management Criteria and Indicators

    Perhaps the most integrative list of research topics for the future might be the sustainable forest management (SFM) criteria and indicators that have been promulgated for most of the forests in the world and agreed on through various international treaties. At the June 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (the “Earth Summit”), 144 countries developed and adopted a nonbinding “Statement of Forest Principles” that recognized the importance of SFM for all types of forests. In 1993, a U.N. committee meeting on sustainable development of temperate and boreal

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    forests was held in Montreal. That meeting included representatives of nine nations who formed the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests. The “Montreal Process” countries met in Santiago, Chile, in February 1995 to endorse their commitment to the Montreal process. The “Santiago declaration” accepted a comprehensive set of seven criteria and 67 indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. Similar criteria and indicators for measuring and assessing SFM were developed through the “Helsinki process” in Europe. Earlier efforts by the International Tropical Timber Organization also were designed to enhance SFM (National Association of State Foresters, 1997).

    There are now 130 countries engaged in activities related to criteria and indicators. As of 1997, the 12 Montreal process countries were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, the United States, and Uruguay. Those countries are on five continents and contain 90 percent of the world's temperate and boreal forests and 60 percent of all forest on the globe. The Montreal process developed broad criteria that were intended to represent a large-scale reflection of public values; indicators were then developed to provide a means of measuring forest conditions and tracking changes (National Association of State Foresters, 1997).

    The SFM criteria and indicators might be considered the raison d'être for forest research, monitoring, and adaptive management. Table 2–2 summarizes the seven criteria and 67 indicators promulgated under the Montreal process. Applying them on public and private lands in the United States and in other countries clearly poses a huge challenge for forestry in the future; education and research will be crucial. The breadth of the criteria encompasses virtually all forest practices, from biologic to social questions. They also could fall within our foundation and emerging priorities, or vice versa. The widespread international agreement on the criteria suggests that they will become the paradigm governing forest management, education, and research.

    Note that five broad SFM criteria generally address biologic, physical, or natural standards for forest management and that only two address economic, social, or institutional issues. However, only 28 of the indicators address biophysical standards, and 39 social and institutional standards. Measuring many of the qualities—biophysical or social—is extremely difficult. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service has estimated that fewer than half of the indicators are directly measurable with current monitoring approaches and technologies, and current public funding levels.

    Monitoring and research comprise the last set of eight indicators under the legal and social criteria. These indicators are related to how well we measure and monitor the preceding quantities and to whether we are making progress toward SFM. The United States and all other member countries of the Montreal process are mandated to do a better job of measuring and monitoring the first 59 indicators and explicitly charged with improving monitoring and research in the last eight indicators. These countries are committed to preparing the first full report on SFM and meeting the criteria and indicators standards in 2003.

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Table 2–2. Criteria for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests Developed from the Montreal Process.

    Criteria

    Description

    1 Conservation of biologic diversity

    Ecosystem diversity:

    1) Extent of area by forest type relative to total forest area

    2) Extent of area by forest type and by age class or successional stage

    3) Extent of area by forest type in protected-area categories as defined by IUCN or other classification systems

    4) Extent of area by forest type in protected areas defined by age class or successional stage

    5) Fragmentation of forest types

     

    Species diversity:

    6) Number of forest-dependent species.

    7) Status (rare, threatened, endangered, or extinct) of forest-dependent species at risk of not maintaining viable breeding populations, as determined by legislation or scientific assessment

    Genetic diversity:

    8) Number of forest-dependent species that occupy a small portion of their former range

    9) Population levels of representative species from diverse habitats monitored across their ranges

     

    2 Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems

    10) Area of forest land and net area of forest land available for timber production

    11) Total growing stock of both merchantable and nonmerchantable tree species on forest land available for timber production

    12) Area and growing stock of plantations of native and exotic species

    13) Annual removal of wood products compared with the volume determined to be sustainable

    14) Annual removal of nontimber forest products (such as fur bearers, berries, mushrooms, game) compared with the level determined to be sustainable

    3 Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality

    15) Area and percentage of forest affected by processes or agents beyond the range of historic variation (for example, insects, disease, competition from exotic species, fire, storm, land clearance, permanent flooding, salinization, and domestic animals)

    16) Area and percentage of forest land subjected to levels of specific air pollutants (for example, sulfates, nitrate, and ozone) or ultraviolet B that can cause adverse effects on the forest ecosystem

    17)

    Area and percentage of forest land with diminished biologic components indicative of changes in fundamental ecologic processes (such as soil, nutrient cycling, seed dispersion, and pollination) or ecologic continuity

    4 Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources

    18) Area and percentage of forest land with significant soil erosion

    19) Area and percentage of forest land managed primarily for protective functions (such as, watersheds, flood protection, avalanche protection, and riparian zones)

    20) Percentage of stream kilometers in forested catchments in which stream

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Criteria

    Description

     

    flow and timing have significantly deviated from the historic range of variation

    21) Area and percentage of forest land with significantly diminished soil organic matter or changes in other soil chemical properties

    22) Area and percentage of forest land with significant compaction or change in soil physical properties resulting from human activities

    23) Percentage of water bodies in forest areas (such as stream kilometers and lake hectares) with significant variance of biologic diversity from the historic range of variability

    24) Percentage of water bodies in forest areas (such as stream kilometers and lake hectares) with significant variation from the historic range of variability in pH, dissolved oxygen, levels of chemicals (electric conductivity), sedimentation, or temperature change

    25) Area and percentage of forest land experiencing an accumulation of persistent toxic substances

    5 Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles

     

    26) Total forest ecosystem biomass and carbon pool and if appropriate, by forest type, age class, and successional stages

    27) Contribution of forest ecosystems to the total global carbon budget, including absorption and release of carbon

    28) Contribution of forest products to the global carbon budget

    6 Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies

    Production and consumption:

    29) Value and volume of wood and wood-products production, including value added through downstream processing

    30) Value and quantities of production of nonwood forest products 31) Supply and consumption of wood and wood products, including consumption per capita

    32) Value of wood and nonwood-products production as percentage of gross domestic product

    33) Degree of recycling of forest products

    34) Supply and consumption or use of nonwood products

     

    Recreation and tourism:

    35) Area and percentage of forest land managed for general recreation and tourism in relation to the total area of forest land

    36) Number and type of facilities available for general recreation and tourism in relation to population and forest area

    37) Number of visitor-days attributed to recreation and tourism in relation to population and forest area

     

    Investment in the forest sector:

    38) Value of investment, including investment in forest growing, forest health and management, planted forests, wood-processing, recreation, and tourism

    39) Level of expenditure on research and development and or education

    40) Extension and use of new and improved technology

    41) Rates of return on investment

    Cultural social and spiritual needs and values:

    42) Area and percentage of forest land managed in relation to the total area of forest land to protect the range of cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values

     

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Criteria Description
     

    Employment and community needs:

    43) Non-consumptive-use forest values

    44) Direct and indirect employment in forest-sector and the forest sector employment as a proportion of total employment

    45) Average wage rates and injury rates in major employment categories in the forest sector

    46) Viability and adaptability to changing economic conditions of forest-dependent communities, including indigenous communities

    47) Area and percentage of forest land used for subsistence purposes

    7 Legal, institutional, and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

    Extent to which the legal framework (laws, regulations, and guidelines) supports the conservation and sustainable management of forests, including the extent to which it

    48) Clarifies property rights, provides for appropriate land-tenure arrangements, recognizes customary and traditional rights of indigenous people, and provides means of resolving property disputes by due process

    49) Provides for periodic forest-related planning, assessment, and policy review that recognize the range of forest values, including coordination with relevant sectors

    50) Provides opportunities for public participation in public policy-making and decision-making related to forests and public access to information

    51) Encourages best-practice codes for forest management

    52) Provides for the management of forests to conserve special environmental, cultural, social, and scientific values

    Extent to which the institutional framework supports the conservation and sustainable management of forests, including the capacity to

    53) Provide for public involvement and public education, awareness, and extension programs and make forest-related information available

    54) Undertake and implement periodic forest-related planning, assessment, and policy review, including cross-sectoral planning and coordination

    55) Develop and maintain human-resource skills across relevant disciplines

    56) Develop and maintain efficient physical infrastructure to facilitate the supply of forest products and services and to support forest management

    57) Enforce laws, regulations, and guidelines.

    Extent to which the economic framework (economic policies and measures) supports the conservation and sustainable management of forests through

    58) Investment and taxation policies and a regulatory environment that recognize the long-term nature of investments and permit the flow of capital in and out of the forest sector in response to market signals, nonmarket economic valuations, and public-policy decisions to meet long-term demands for forest products and services

    59) Nondiscriminatory trade policies for forest products

    Capacity to measure and monitor changes in the conservation and sustainable management of forests, including

    60) Availability and extent of up-to-date data, statistics, and other information important for measuring or describing indicators associated with criteria 1–

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Criteria Description
     

    7

    61) Scope, frequency, and statistic reliability of forest inventories, assessments, monitoring, and other relevant information

    62) Compatibility with other countries in measuring, monitoring, and reporting on indicators

    Capacity to conduct and apply research and development aimed at improving forest management and delivery of forest goods and services, including

    63) Development of scientific understanding of forest ecosystem characteristics and functions

    64) Development of methods of measuring and integrating environmental and social costs and benefits into markets and public policies and of reflecting forest-related resource depletion or replenishment in national accounting systems

    65) New technologies and the capacity to assess the socioeconomic consequences associated with the introduction of new technologies

    66) Enhancement of ability to predict impacts of human intervention on forests

    67) Ability to predict impacts of possible climate change on forests



    A Roundtable on Sustainable Forests ( http://www.sustainableforests.net/ ) has been formed to develop means of measuring and monitoring progress in achieving the criteria and indicators standards and of preparing the report in 2003; several meetings helped define terms and to develop measurement protocols. The international agreements and national implementation committees promise to make SFM criteria and indicators central in forestry research, monitoring, and adaptive management.

    Forest Certification

    Forest certification is a rapidly developing new means to enhance forest management and protection, and potentially generate adequate financial returns from working forests to ensure that they are retained. Various certification approaches exist, but the two dominant systems in the United States are the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), administered by the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA), and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approaches. The broad principles that these two certification approaches mandate also provide a telling framework for the various important research foci in the future. These or similar approaches will be applied to much of the managed forests in the United States.

    There has been a rapid increase in the areas of forests that have been certified since those systems began in 1993. As of 2000, about 94 million hectares of forest were certified in the world by one of the certification systems (FAO, 2001, Meridian Institute, 2001). In the United States, by 2001 the Forest Stewardship council had granted 64 certified forest certificates, covering 3.3 million hectares, as well as issued 391 chain-of-custody certificates. FSC had certified 22 million hectares in the world. By 2001, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative had 132 company participants and 52 licensees, owning 14 million hectares in the United States. It had granted 16 third-party certification actions,

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    covering 8 million hectares in the U.S. SFI also approved certifications in Canada, which included 14 million hectares more (Meridian Institute, 2001).

    It is not possible to list all the criteria and a standard, since they are at least a dozen pages each. SmartWood has developed generic Principles with many Criteria to measure the FSC Principles listed in Forest Stewardship Council (2001).

      1) Compliance with Laws and FSC Principles. Forest management shall respect all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and international treaties and agreements to which the country is a signatory, and comply with all FSC Principles and Criteria.

      2) Tenure and Use Rights and Responsibilities. Long-term tenure and use rights to the land and forest resources shall be clearly defined, documented, and legally established.

      3) Indigenous People's Rights. The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources shall be recognized and respected.

      4) Community Relations and Worker's Rights. Forest management operations shall maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and local communities.

      5) Benefits from the Forest. Forest management operations shall encourage the efficient use of the forest's multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

      6) Environmental Impact. Forest management shall conserve biologic diversity and its associate values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecologic functions and integrity of the forest.

      7) Management Plan. A management plan-appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations-shall be written, implemented, and kept up to date. The long-term objectives of management, and the means of achieving them, shall be clearly stated.

      8) Monitoring and Assessment. Monitoring shall be conducted-appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management-to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.

      9) Maintenance of High Conservation Value Forests. Management activities in high

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes, which define such forests. Decisions regarding high conservation value forests shall always be considered in the context of a precautionary approach.

    10) Plantations. Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1–9, and Principle 10 and its criteria. While plantations can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute to satisfying the world's needs for forest products, they should complement the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.

    In total, there are 10 FSC Principles and 56 Criteria. In addition, there are may be more than 200 “bulleted” standards that certifying organizations use to provide details as to how the Principles and Criteria should be measured. This provides a detailed and rigorous set of standards to measure forest management. Principle #10 (Plantations) presents some of the more challenging components for high intensity forestry, requiring clear justification, protection of natural forests, species diversity, and long-term site protection. Plantations established in areas converted from natural forests after November 1994 normally shall not qualify for certification unless the current owner was not responsible for the conversion.

    The SFI criteria were last revised in 2001 (American Forest & Paper Association, 2001), and require a set of core indicators for all organizations for a program participant to successfully complete 3rd party verification. The SFI standards also allow organizations to select optional indicators that they consider appropriate for their management systems and conditions. In total, there are about 100 core SFI indicators; there can be dozens to more than a hundred optional criteria at an organization's election. The paraphrased core objectives and standards are:

      1) Broaden the practice of sustainable forestry, including having a written policy or program; providing funding for forest research; provide recreation and education opportunities; and ensure that long-term harvest levels are sustainable.

      2) Ensure long-term forest productivity and reforestation, through reforestation by natural or planted methods within two years; promote state-level reporting of the overall rates of reforestation success and afforestation; use chemicals prudently and follow BMPs; implement management practices to protect and maintain soil productivity; protect forests from damaging insects, diseases, or fires; and use genetically improved material with sound scientific methods.

      3) Protect water quality by using BMPs developed under EPA approved state water quality programs and meet or exceed all state water quality laws; develop, implement, and document riparian protection measures; provide funding for water quality research; and require BMP training for company employees in woodlands and procurement, and encourage training for forest management and harvesting contractors.

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    4) Manage the quality and distribution of wildlife habitat, and contribute to the conservation of biologic diversity by having programs and plans to promote habitat diversity at the stand and landscape level; fund research; apply research and technology and practical experience in wildlife and biodiversity management.

    5) Manage the visual impact of harvesting and other forest operations, through planing and design; managing the size of clearcuts, with an average size not to exceed 120 acres; adopting a 3-year (5') green-up requirement before adjacent areas ay be clearcut; and vary harvest units to promote diversity.

    6) Manage lands of ecologic, historic, and geologic significance carefully.

    7) Promote the efficient use of forest resources, by minimizing waste and ensuring efficient utilization in the woods.

    8) Cooperate with forest landowners, wood producers, and consulting foresters, by encouraging use of BMPs and providing environmental and economic information about BMPs; working closely with state logging and/or forestry associations and agencies.

    9) Publicly report progress in fulfilling their objective to sustainable forestry.

    10) Provide opportunities for the public and forestry community to participate in the commitment to sustainable forestry.

    11) Promote continual improvement in the practice of sustainable forestry and monitor, measure, and report performance in achieving the commitment to sustainable forestry.

    Forest-Industry Priorities

    The AFPA Agenda 2020 process defined similar sustainable-forestry research priorities for the forest-products industry (American Forest and Paper Association, 1999). These included the broad categories of biotechnology, basic physiology of forest productivity, sustainable forest productivity, and remote sensing technologies to improve forest inventory and stand management. The Agenda 2020 process also included wood-science manufacturing research issues such as environmental performance, energy performance, recycling, and sensors and controls. Forest-industry firms have also released research priorities via various regional committees. Most of these priorities focus on research that supports intensive production of wood while sustaining the productivity of the land; research should develop baseline data on forest inventory, timber supply, environmental forestry, and water issues (i.e., AFPA North Central Forest Resources Research Committee, 1996; Southern Industrial Forestry Research Council,

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    1996). AFPA believes that the nation's ability to address research priorities adequately will depend on the education, production, procurement, and support of scientists in the public and private sectors.

    New Forestry-Research Challenges

    In addition to the move toward sustainable indicators and timber certification that require a broader and more interdisciplinary approach to forestry, there is an exciting and demanding ‘new world' of forestry research, which requires expanding the knowledge base of forest scientists and managers. These new challenges suggest that scientists be prepared to move in broader, more interdisciplinary directions and examples include:

      a) The science implications of policies of sustainability as referred to in the Brundtland report, and long-term forest productivity.
      b) The trend for policy and management decisions to be driven by science (e.g., FEMAT, the Interior Columbia River Basin Study, NW Forest Plan, Congressional Hearings on Forest Health, and Southern Forest Resource Assessment).
      c) Potential global climate change, carbon sequestration, and carbon credits.
      d) Effects of potentially eliminating harvesting of timber on public lands on issues of supply and demand (regional, national, and global), forest health, and recycling forest products.
      e) Biotechnology and yield improvement.
      f) New management/science issues including: forest health, wildfire and fuels reduction, integrated pest management, watershed assessment, adaptive management, habitat for threatened and endangered species, multiple-species wildlife habitat, effects of forest fragmentation, watersheds and riparian issues, medicinal/food plants and other on-timber forest products, fire surrogates, variable retention silviculture, urban forestry, agroforestry, community well-being, structural dynamics, spatial/temporal issues, and inventory and monitoring.

    These issues are creating a new paradigm for forestry research and are driving, in part, the need to assess our current forestry research capacity. The critical nature of the new world of forestry places urgency on assessing and ensuring a strong national research capacity for the future.

    WORKSHOP INPUT ON AN ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE BASE

    Before, during, and after the 1999 National Research Council Workshop on Forestry Research Capacity, the committee received presentations and written comments (see Box 2–1) from representatives of universities (22), government agencies (8), trade organizations (4), non-government organizations (3), and private industry and others (3).

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Box 2–1 Excerptsfrom Input Received on Education and Research Needs to Form an Essential Knowledge Base

    “We may lose sight of the required basic forestry skills,…the most important set of skills…. Some erosion of these basic skills has already occurred.” —Sam E.Curl, dean and director, Division of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University

    “Silviculture and forest ecology are just as important as studying social science topics like economics and policy.” — Bobby D.Moser, dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Gary W.Mullins, director, School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

    “Knowledge base…requires an extraordinary investment in research that addresses the ecosystem in which the forest exists.” —James J.Zuiches, dean, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Washington State University

    “The following knowledge base components are important and necessary.

    • 1) Forest resource (timber and non-timber) inventory, including assessment and prediction of forest resource inventory, dynamics, response to management practices and other disturbances, and interactions between forest resource and atmospheric changes.
    • 2) Public needs/demand and desires for forest resources (timber and non-timber products).
    • 3) The diversity of forest landowners—public, industrial, and non-industrial private (including socially disadvantaged) landowners.
    • 4) Scientific forest management, tree/stand improvement, disease and insect control, and fire management.
    • 5) Improvement of technology for procuring, processing, and manufacturing of forest products.
    • 6) Global forest resources and forest product markets.
    • 7) Advancements in science, technology, and other professional that could affect forestry profession.” —Jianbang Gan, professor and coordinator, Forest Resources Program, and Walter A.Hill, dean, College of Agricultural, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Tuskegee University

    “More emphasis…on the non-timber products…such as high quality water, sustained water supply, wildlife and recreation while at the same time seeking to preserve and enhance biodiversity…This will add to the challenge of finding ways to maximize production of wood and fiber.” —David G.Topel, dean and director, College of Agriculture Experiment Station, Iowa State University

    “The greatest need in forestry (and related resource) research and professional education is fundamental training of all specialists in systems management so they can both specialize and keep a perspective on how their specialty relates to all other specialties.” —Chadwick D.Oliver, Forest Management and Engineering Division, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington

    “The knowledge base…is somewhat lacking, especially with regard to non-market goods and services…” —Pete Morton, The Wilderness Society

    “Expectations for rising population, rising standards of living, declining forest land base, and greater environmental awareness worldwide, call for even greater attention to providing new technology as a critical factor of production and a critical component of forest resource conservation.” —Thomas E.Hamilton, director, USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, and Ramsay Smith, Louisiana State University

    “The ability to monitor as part of an adaptive management program should be explored.” Virginia H.Dale, senior Scientist, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    “Four research topics…essential to effective reserve design…include: 1) sometimes divergent implications of ‘biodiversity' versus ‘biotic integrity' in guiding forest policy, 2) assessing cumulative (and simultaneous) impacts of natural and anthropogenic impacts to forest function, 3) adding temporal scaling to spatial scaling as a factor in sustaining forest landscapes, and 4) the need to incorporate ecological measures of risk and uncertainty into forest planning.” J.Christopher Haney, Ecology and Economics Research Department, The Wilderness Society

    “Increasing the capacity of forestry research will require considerably more support for social science work and the study of the relationship between resource use and community capacity and well-being.” —Jonathan Kusel, director, Forest Community Research

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Input related to the essential knowledge base can be summarized as follows:

    • Universities. Most respondents emphasized the need to teach students social sciences, wood-processing, research and technology transfer, “new forestry” and ecosystem approaches to management, and critical and multidisciplinary thinking and problem-solving. There was concern that the present knowledge base is not sufficient to address future forest research and management issues and that as faculty members retire, it is difficult to fill vacant positions in entomology, forest pathology, management, and forest products.
    • Government agencies. Respondents recommended that forestry research and development focus on air and water quality, soil productivity, human use of resources, landscape fragmentation, population impacts, forest ecosystems, landscape ecology, use of latest technologies, and environmental effects of wood-fiber recycling and disposal of treated wood.
    • Trade organizations. Three of the four respondents felt that research in social sciences (including rural sociology) is needed.
    • Nongovernmental organizations. The knowledge base is lacking in nonmarket goods and services; many of the goods are produced by wildlands, so emphasis on wildlands economics should be increased.
    • Private industry and others. Good knowledge of biology is needed, including forest ecology, insect and disease management and monitoring, tree breeding, and sustainable forestry.

    During the National Research Council Workshop on Forestry Research Capacity, the question of whether the current knowledge base is adequate was addressed. The following seven major gaps in the knowledge base were identified in priority order:

    • 1) Measurements, monitoring, and information systems.
    • 2) Biologic knowledge base (biology and biochemistry, above- and in ground).
    • 3) Management sciences (modeling, planning, forest-systems management, silviculture, agroforestry, restoration, and tree improvement).
    • 4) Systems understanding (integration of biology, physical sciences, sociology, and risk management).
    • 5) Forest health.
    • 6) Human-natural resource interaction.
    • 7) Wood science.

    Additional gaps were noted but not ranked. These included, and reinforced, some previously noted gaps, such as

    • Genetics (nine gaps proposed).
    • Communication with the public and forest landowners (three gaps).
    • Management options to favor biodiversity and productivity (or vice versa).
    • More-efficient wood recycling and use.
    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    • Models for long-term analysis of tradeoffs (biologic and economic), including spatial and climate-change considerations.
    • Cumulative effect of forest management on the landscape scale.
    • Better research planning among agencies.
    • Monitoring.
    • Fire suppression and management technology.
    • Risk analysis.
    • Spatial and temporal-scale implications.
    • Economic models to address the international wood market.

    Some new knowledge gaps identified during the workshop included (without ranking)

    • Role of early succession species.
    • Role of in-ground processes in sustaining ecosystems.
    • Invasive species and ecosystem restoration.
    • Management of carbon storage.
    • “Backyard” silviculture.
    • Chemical derivatives from wood.
    • Mechanisms of ecophysiology—biologic changes underlying establishment and adaptations.

    • Long-term effects of stream buffers in conifer forests on aquatic ecosystems.
    • Composites—wood and other materials.
    • Chemical treatment strategies for wood protection that are environmentally acceptable.
    • Long-term impacts of chip-harvesting on forest ecosystems.
    • Strategies for handling and dispersing forest recreation.

    Addressing those gaps in the knowledge base in the short-term will require careful and thoughtful approaches to interdisciplinary research. In the longer term, it will require that our nation's education system attract and maintain high-quality students in programs designed to prepare competent research scientists to address the issues (see Chapter 4).

    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Forestry education and research have long supported forest-management activities and principles that are fundamental and will always be considered essential; forest genetics is perhaps the best example. Forestry education and research have only recently begun to explore the interactions of social, economic, and environmental factors that are related to sustainable ecosystem management. The high-priority foundation science education and research fields related to forestry are biology, ecology, and silviculture; forest genetics; forest management, economics, and policy; and wood and materials

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
    ×

    Page 41

    science. The high-priority emerging education and research fields are human and natural resource interactions; ecosystem function, health, and management; forest systems on various scales of space and time; and forest monitoring, analysis, and adaptive management; and forest biotechnology.

    Recommendation 2–1

    To achieve an adequate knowledge base, forestry and natural-resource education and research programs in government and academia should dedicate resources to the foundation fields of forestry science while engaging in efforts to develop emerging education and research priority areas.

    The high-priority fields can be addressed in an interdisciplinary manner with an appreciation of appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Addressing those fields will give policy-makers and managers the knowledge they need to implement a forest-management paradigm that will engender broad public and political support and meet society's physical and aesthetic needs.

    The education and research priorities are aimed at the dual related goals of sustaining forests for a broad set of values, as recommended by the Committee of Scientists (1999), and providing the forest products required by a growing society. The present trend of a declining contribution of forest products from public forest lands and increasing recreation and nonmarket goods and services, and the trend of increasing intensification of forest-product output from private industrial forest lands, are likely to continue in meeting the diverse needs that society places on our forests. Foundation and emerging forestry education and research will be needed to provide professionals for our future to and support the policy and economic decisions that governments and the forest-product industry will need to make with respect to how and from where forest services and products are provided. It will be critical to retain the essential education and research on which the sustained delivery of forest products depends as resources continue to shift to sustainability related areas. That does not mean that all fields of forestry education and research need to be maintained at present levels. It does mean that current education and research need to be evaluated objectively and essential fields given high priority.

    Suggested Citation:"2. The Essential Knowledge Base for Forestry Issues." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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    Forests are major components of the earth's natural resources and they are increasingly critical to the welfare of the U.S. economy, environment, and population. Desires to improve forest management and productivity, preserve biodiversity, maintain ecologic integrity, and provide societal services, such as recreation and tourism, necessitate a strong forestry-research base.

    Given the clear importance of forestry research in sustaining forests for the future, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service asked the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies to undertake a study of the nation's capacity in forestry research. The Committee on National Capacity in Forestry Research was appointed to carry out the study, which was conducted to review the current expertise and status of forestry research and to examine the approaches of natural resources education and forestry-research organizations to meet future needs.

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