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National Capacity in Forestry Research (2002)

Chapter:3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States

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Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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3 Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States

The nation's ability to provide adequate goods and services from forests, or even to maintain current area of forests, in the face of increasing population and consumption, is at risk. Improved protection of existing forests, afforestation of non-forested areas, reforestation after timber harvests, restoration of degraded forests, and increased productivity of new and existing forests—for commodities and noncommodity purposes—are required if demands for forests and for forest sustainability are to be balanced on the stand, landscape, or global scale. Research and monitoring underlie sustainable forest management and protection.

Scientific research is key to being able to identify how to improve forest conditions, allow compatible human uses, and sustain productivity for market and nonmarket goods and services. Research on forest products and use conducted by the USDA Forest Service, for example, has contributed to the development of knowledge and technology that have tripled the amount of fiber available for use from trees within the last 100 years (Lewis, 2000). Research on recycling of wood-based products has increased paper-recovery rates from 25 percent to 45 percent of fiber (Lewis, 2000). A specific example is the scientific advance in recycling of 33 billion stamps produced each year by the U.S. Postal Service as a result of research on pressure-sensitive adhesives, which had presented substantial problems in recycling (Lewis, 2000). Other research advances include the development of composite products and improvement in housing constructions.

Monitoring provides the means to measure whether forest conditions—from area extent to timber productivity to biodiversity to ecologic integrity—are being degraded, sustained, or enhanced. Monitoring provides the means for determining how the interaction of management interventions and natural climatic variations are affecting the forest resource, and suggests when new approaches are required. Such an integrated

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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adaptive-management or systems approach to sustainable forest management will be necessary to meet future social needs and objectives.

Research and monitoring make it possible to determine how forests should be managed, including whether, how, and when intervention in natural conditions is needed. Research and monitoring are essential in the development of efficient approaches to developing intensive timber plantations, restoring degraded forests to better functioning ecologic systems, and providing the amenity and spiritual values that are sought by people.

ASSESSING FORESTRY-RESEARCH CAPACITY

Just as monitoring of forests is necessary to ensure future growth and sustainability, monitoring the status of forestry research is important to ensure future strength and capacity. The extent and condition of forests are uncertain; more importantly, the status of the nation's capacity to address these issues through forestry research is uncertain.

The capacity to achieve sustainability is highly variable and is positively correlated to the resources dedicated to forestry research (Szaro et al., 2000). It is possible to measure the input (human resources, financial resources, facilities, and equipment) into forestry research and its output (technology improvements, publications, economic development, and ecologic improvement), and a relatively thorough investigation of forestry research reveals greater capacity than perhaps widely recognized. However, how to focus and build that capacity are perhaps the most relevant questions for the next decade.

This chapter of the report summarizes available data on forestry-research capacity in terms of human resource, institutional, and financial inputs. We considered input and output to forestry research to describe the current status of the nation's forestry research environment, and to assess the adequacy of the nation's capacity to meet current and future needs. We also provide an overview describing evaluations of output (perceived return on investment). Where possible, we analyze the question of capacity in different disciplines; this was one of the specific concerns that prompted our study.

A PORTRAIT OFTHE FORESTRY-RESEARCH WORKFORCE

As described by Bengston (1998), the research capacity of a nation is determined in part by factors within the research system, such as the quantity and quality of resources available for research and characteristics of the institutional environment in which research is carried out. It is also influenced by national characteristics, including education systems, and public and private sector roles in research. To assess current U.S. forestry-research capacity, we review the primary forestry-research organizations here. To the extent possible, we describe the levels of manpower and research support they have provided currently and historically.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service is examined as a major contributor to the nation's forestry-research portfolio, as is research performed by forestry departments, schools, and colleges throughout the United States. Research related to forests in such departments and agencies as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is also germane. A direct research linkage to forests, at least where the links can be ascertained and quantified, is important in determining the status of forestry-research capacity. It would not include research in areas such as botany, rural sociology, or even sustainable agriculture, which although related, are more distant and more difficult to quantify.

USDA Forest Service

The USDA Forest Service Research and Development branch is the largest forestry-research organization in the world and is the largest contributor to the U.S. forestry-research workforce. It maintains 77 laboratories in 67 locations throughout the United States. They are organized within six regional research stations, a Forest Products Laboratory, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Forest Service research is managed through regional research stations and each research station is made up of several Research Work Units (RWU's) located at Forestry Sciences Laboratories or on university campuses. RWU research is typically specialized in a particular subject area such as soil productivity, recreation, or forest insects. Each RWU typically conducts studies focused on its area of expertise or through interdisciplinary research projects that address complex problems of natural resource management and conservation. Interdisciplinary projects typically involve scientists from other work units, other parts of the Forest Service, other agencies, and universities. Forest Service trends in forestry research are by no means the only indicator of forestry-research capacity, but they provide accessible measures to obtain and track. Trends in Forest Service research funding, personnel, facilities, and Research Work Units (RWUs) are summarized in Tables 3–1 and 3–2.

Table 3–1 summarizes trends in the number of scientist years (SYs), RWUs, and research locations for Forest Service research. The agency had 964 SY equivalents in FY 1980 and pared that number to 633 by FY 1998. During the same period, the number of RWUs declined from 246 to 137—through both attrition of scientists and consolidation of RWUs to achieve greater administrative efficiency. The number of research locations dropped less precipitously, from 86 in FY 1980 to 67 in FY 1999. Although definitive data are lacking, it is commonly believed that Forest Service research infrastructure—the physical plant, equipment, and scientific technology—also declined in quality. Supportive of this belief is a report by an interagency working group on federal laboratory reform that released a report on improving federal laboratories in which the working group concludes:

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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“The (federal) laboratories' physical and human infrastructure is rich in capability but not fully matched to the challenges of the early twenty-first century.” (National Science and Technology Council, 1999)

The working group report identifies the fact that each federal laboratory is important to its local and regional economy and employs people dedicated to national priorities. Examinations and review of infrastructure, capacity, and national needs have led to conclusions that there may be overcapacity in some parts of the federal system (National Science and Technology Council, 1999). Thus, when attempting to strengthen existing infrastructure, consideration must be given to weighing costs associated with maintaining facilities that may be obsolete and that may divert limited funds from more promising facilities.

Table 3–1. Forestry-Research Statistics for USDA Forest Service, FY 1980–2002. a

Fiscal Year

Appropriations, millions of $

 

Extramural Funding, millions of $

Scientist-Years b(FTE)

Research Locations

Research Work Units

 

Actual

Constant 1980

Actual

Constant 1980

% Appropriations

 

 

 

1980

111.5

111.5

10.6

10.6

9.5

964

86

248

1981

108.5

98.7

14.2

12.9

13.1

958

85

242

1982

112.1

95.3

10.8

9.1

9.5

908

83

235

1983

107.7

87.5

9.3

7.5

8.6

838

80

219

1984

109.4

85.6

7.7

6.0

7.0

813

77

207

1985

121.7

92.0

7.5

5.6

6.0

799

77

200

1986

120.1

88.4

10.4

7.6

8.6

734

78

199

1987

132.7

94.9

14.6

10.4

11.0

713

78

200

1988

135.5

93.6

18.3

12.6

13.5

724

76

190

1989

137.9

91.3

11.1

7.3

8.0

714

75

191

1990

144.7

92.0

13.2

8.4

9.1

716

75

190

1991

168.4

102.7

18.7

11.4

11.1

720

76

183

1992

181.3

107.4

29.6

17.5

16.3

714

78

183

1993

183.8

106.2

26.9

15.5

14.6

718

79

185

1994

193.1

108.9

21.5

12.1

11.1

720

78

185

1995

193.5

106.6

25.8

14.2

13.3

721

76

185

1996

178.0

96.1

14.7

7.9

8.2

692

69

185

1997

179.8

95.3

17.2

9.1

9.5

642

68

166

1998

187.8

98.4

17.6

9.2

9.3

633

67

137

1999

197.4

102.1

23.2

11.4

11.8

N/A

67

137

2000

217.7

104.3

21.6

10.3

9.9

841

N/A

137

2001

229.1

106.5

22

10.2

9.6

743

N/A

133

2002 c

241.3

110.3

N/A

N/A

N/A

723

N/A

133

aIncludes appropriated accounts only; excludes reimbursable accounts;

bScientist-year figures include term appointments of post-doctoral students. Actual numbers of permanent full-time researchers are lower by an estimated 25–50 FTEs for FY 1996–1999. For example, 606 permanent full-time researchers were employed in FY 1998 compared with 633 FTEs. 27 FTEs of effort were contributed by employees on term appointments in FY 1998;

cData for 2002 are not final.

Source: R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, July 1999. Drawn from Reports of the Forest Service, Fiscal Years 1980–1998; USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, 2002 Budget Justification.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Page 46

Table 3–2. USDA Forest Service Research Funding by Budget Line Item, FY 1980–2002 (thousands of $). a

Fiscal Year

Forest Protection

1980$ Forest Protection

Resource Analysis

1980$ Resource Analysis

Timber and Forest Mgmt

1980$ Timber and Forest Mgmt

Forest Env. and Ecosystem

1980$ Forest Env. and Ecosystem

1980

31,544

31,544

19,100

19,100

20,620

20,620

22,525

22,525

1981

29,883

27,089

18,347

16,631

20,705

18,769

32,133

29,128

1982

29,956

25,579

18,173

15,518

20,710

17,684

22,884

19,540

1983

30,061

24,870

17,316

14,326

20,585

17,030

21,813

18,046

1984

29,912

23,722

16,876

13,384

22,137

17,556

22,490

17,836

1985

29,110

22,292

21,646

16,577

22,161

16,971

22,421

17,170

1986

27,902

20,977

17,686

13,297

21,502

16,166

25,971

19,526

1987

31,224

22,648

22,218

16,116

23,891

17,329

30,580

22,181

1988

31,407

21,876

22,767

15,858

26,636

18,553

31,930

22,240

1989

32,944

21,892

22,636

15,042

27,383

18,197

33,912

22,535

1990

33,850

21,341

22,932

14,457

29,488

18,591

36,741

23,163

1991

38,168

23,091

25,807

15,613

36,550

22,112

43,373

26,240

1992

40,770

23,945

29,166

17,129

39,216

23,032

45,716

26,849

1993

40,833

23,285

30,720

17,518

39,594

22,578

46,033

26,250

1994

41,089

22,846

31,540

17,537

40,887

22,734

52,770

29,341

1995

36,998

20,004

32,361

17,497

52,924

28,615

43,083

23,294

1996

33,308

17,493

28,168

14,793

47,123

24,748

44,316

23,274

1997

33,559

17,229

26,341

13,523

50,284

25,816

45,369

23,292

1998

34,125

17,251

31,816

16,084

52,377

26,478

45,851

23,179

1999

34,307

16,968

39,021

19,300

50,664

25,058

48,924

24,198

2000

27,169

13,014

41,362

19,812

50,376

24,130

45,517

21,803

2001

29,934

13,919

37,530

17,451

53,536

25,824

50,406

23,439

2002 c

30,363

13,876

38,044

17,386

55,631

25,423

51,453

23,514

Fiscal Year

Forest Products

1980$ Forest Products

Subtotal

1980$ Subtotal

Other b

1980$ Other b

Total

1980$ Total

1980

17,742

17,742

111,531

111,531

111,531

111,531

1981

18,385

16,666

108,453

98,312

108,453

98,312

1982

20,422

17,438

112,145

95,759

112,145

95,759

1983

17,897

14,806

107,672

89,078

107,672

89,078

1984

17,988

14,266

109,403

86,764

109,403

86,764

1985

18,488

14,158

113,826

87,168

7,840

6,004

121,666

93,172

1986

17,560

13,202

110,621

83,167

6,506

4,891

117,127

88,058

1987

18,808

13,642

126,721

91,917

6,000

4,352

132,721

96,505

1988

19,770

13,770

132,510

92,297

3,000

2,090

135,510

94,387

1989

20,492

13,617

137,367

91,283

500

332

137,867

91,615

1990

21,142

13,329

144,153

90,881

500

315

144,653

91,196

1991

22,731

13,752

166,629

100,809

750

454

167,379

101,263

1992

25,640

15,059

180,508

106,014

750

440

181,258

106,455

1993

25,535

14,561

182,715

104,191

1,100

627

183,815

104,819

1994

25,697

14,288

191,983

106,744

1,100

612

193,083

107,356

1995

28,143

15,216

193,509

104,626

193,509

104,626

1996

25,085

13,174

178,000

93,482

178,000

93,482

1997

24,233

12,441

179,786

92,302

179,786

92,302

1998

23,775

12,019

187,944

95,009

(147)

74

187,797

94,935

1999

23,721

11,732

196,637

97,257

807

399

197,444

97,656

2000

22,310

10,690

186,734

89,449

2001

26,800

12,460

198,206

93,093

2002 c

28,000

12,800

203,491

92,999

aIncludes appropriated research only; excludes research construction and reimbursable accounts;

bIncludes funding for competitive forestry grants, challenge cost share, and congressional earmarks;

cData for 2002 are not final.

Source: Reports of the Forest Service, Fiscal Years 1980–1998; R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, October 1999; USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, 2002 Budget Justification.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Research Scientists

Numbers of research scientists employed by the Forest Service are categorized by discipline for FY 1985–1999 in Table 3–3. As the table indicates, there has been a marked reduction in scientists in the agency from 985 in FY 1985 to 537 in FY 1999. In FY 1999, 136 (25 percent) of the research scientists were classified as foresters, 50 (9.3 percent) were classified as ecologists, 44 (8.2 percent) as wildlife biologists, and 31 (5.8 percent) as entomologists. The remaining 51 percent of the scientist work force was distributed among 31 employment classifications.

There has been a substantial shift in the classification of the Forest Service research scientists among disciplines. The greatest apparent reduction in expertise in the research branch is in the forester classification, from 350 in FY 1985 to 136 in FY 1999 (from 36 percent to 25 percent of the totals). Some of the reduction is not as much a proportional loss of expertise as an increase in specialization at the graduate level and an evolution of classification methods, but some silvicultural research positions and RWUs have been lost. The largest proportional loss of expertise has been in the forest products technologist classification, which dropped from 63 (6.4 percent of the total) in FY 1985 to 13 (2.4 percent) in FY 1999. Large personnel reductions also occurred in the job classifications for entomologists (70 to 31), plant pathologists (50 to 22), biologists (30 to 15), chemists (41 to 21), mathematic statisticians (30 to 12), soil scientists (27 to 15), range scientists (22 to 4), and mechanical engineers (14 to 3).

The largest increase in scientists was in the number of ecologists—from 9 in FY 1985 (0.9 percent of the total) to 50 (9.3 percent) in FY 1999. That probably reflects the increasing importance of ecology as a discipline over the last 15 years, the shift toward ecosystem management on federal lands, and the attractiveness of that research classification title to scientists. The only other groups that had more than a one-person increase were social scientists (9 to 14, offset by a 15 to 9 reduction in economists), and physical scientists (from 3 to 6).

In short, it is clear that Forest Service research capacity has decreased in terms of the number of scientists who are employed exclusively on a full-time permanent basis. The agency has hired many scientists on a temporary basis to work on major assessment projects, such as the President's plan and the Interior Columbia River Basin study. Those studies, however, tend to pull scientists away from basic research, and into applied, short-run data gathering, analysis, and synthesis projects. On balance, the substantial new assessment funds probably do little to build long-term research capacity.

The Forest Service also has hired an increasing number of persons with graduate degrees to work in the National Forest System and in state and private forestry. They might conduct modest studies and provide service to public land or private land managers, but they are not necessarily conducting long-term research relevant for the Forest Service. Again, there is probably not a net gain in applied research by employing persons with graduate degrees in other Forest Service branches, although the research knowledge obtained could be transferred more effectively by a larger complement of agency employees with graduate degrees.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Table 3–3. Number of Forest Service Research Scientists by Discipline, FY 1985– 1988.

OPM Series

Title

1985

1988

1990

1995

1997 a

1998 a

1999 a

101

Social scientist

9

7

8

17

12

13

14

110

Economist

15

11

11

11

9

6

9

150

Geographer

5

0

1

1

0

0

1

193

Archeologist

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

401

Biologist

30

16

13

14

13

14

15

403

Microbiologist

14

11

9

14

10

10

11

408

Ecologist

9

18

25

46

52

53

50

410

Civil engineer

6

3

1

0

0

0

0

414

Entomologist

70

62

55

38

35

30

31

430

Botanist

15

13

13

12

9

9

8

434

Plant pathologist

50

48

45

35

27

25

22

435

Plant physiologist

26

29

35

34

27

30

29

437

Horticultural

2

1

1

4

0

0

0

440

Geneticist

31

22

20

19

19

20

18

454

Range scientist

22

19

15

5

6

5

4

460

Forester

350

242

230

138

143

138

136

470

Soil scientist

27

27

28

19

17

16

15

482

Fishery biologist

8

8

11

14

11

14

14

486

Wildlife biologist

42

38

44

44

41

45

44

515

Ops. research analyst

7

1

2

0

0

0

0

801

General engineer

32

25

28

29

23

26

22

807

Landscape architect

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

808

Architect

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

810

Supvy res. civil engineer

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

819

Environmental engineer

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

830

Mechanical engineer

14

9

8

7

4

3

3

855

Electrical engineer

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

893

Chemical engineer

11

6

8

6

4

6

6

896

Industrial engineer

3

2

3

2

2

2

0

1301

Physical scientist

3

1

3

5

5

5

6

1310

Physicist

5

4

3

2

1

1

1

1315

Hydrologist

19

21

21

13

13

14

13

1320

Chemist

41

19

21

21

16

18

21

1340

Meteorologist

12

8

9

9

9

10

8

1350

Geologist

5

4

4

4

5

5

3

1380

Forest products technologist

63

43

31

25

21

18

13

1520

Mathematical

5

1

2

4

2

2

2

1529

Mathematical statistician

30

17

16

14

11

13

12

1530

Biological statistician

0

0

2

1

1

1

1

Total

985

736

723

607

548

552

537

aSource: Nov. 22, 1996, Nov. 24, 1997; and Feb. 16, 1999; NFC Report, Count of Filled Positions Classified Under the RGEG.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 49

Today, Forest Service scientists have a greater level of research support in terms of operating funds and support personnel than was the case two decades ago. Data in Table 3–1 show that the average budget in 1980 was about $116,000 per SY. By FY 2001, it had increased to about $308,000 per SY or $143,000 per SY in constant 1980 dollars. The average budget, therefore, has increased per SY, although the constant dollar total agency appropriations has declined to $106.5 million.

Research Productivity

Productivity or output measures have become increasingly important for government agencies in the last decade. Specifically, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 mandates that all federal agencies measure and report on the results of their activities annually. Agencies are required to develop a strategic plan that sets goals and objectives for a 5-year period and to produce an annual report of success in meeting them (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy [COSEPUP], 1999).

The GPRA process has prompted various efforts to define performance measures and collect information that can be used to track success. The National Academies have been examining means to implement the GPRA. A 1999 report (National Research Council, 1999, P. 9) suggested, as one of six major recommendations that:

Federal agencies should use expert review to assess the quality of research they support, the relevance of that research to their mission, and the leadership of that research. Expert review must strive for having balance between having the most knowledgeable and the most independent individuals as members. Each agency should develop clear, explicit guidance with regard to structuring and employing expert review processes.

The Forest Service has collected data on research productivity for years before GPRA began and provided summaries on the productivity as measured by publications as part of this study on forestry-research capacity ( Table 3–4). The data provided by the Forest Service summarize publications by aggregate budget line item in slightly different format from the budget data. The four broad categories of research were vegetation management and protection research (VMPR), wildlife, fish, watershed, and atmospheric sciences research (WFWAR), resource valuation and use research (RVUR), and inventory and monitoring research (IM). Table 3–4 shows the total reported publications summarized in the Forest Service research stations and RWU attainment reports, including internal publications by Forest Service scientists and external publications by cooperating scientists.

Scientists in the four broad categories of research had 1,886 publications in FY 1981, 2,299 in FY 1985, 3,021 in FY 1995, and 2,718 in FY 1998. Recall that the Forest Service (internal) scientist years for 1985, 1995, and 1998 were 985, 607, and 552 respectively. Thus the average number of publications was 3.06 per scientist in FY 1985, 5.0 in FY 1995, and 4.9 in FY 1998. Each of the four resource evaluation categories

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 50

Table 3–4. Number of Forest Service Publications by Discipline, FY 1981–1998.

Subject Area

RBAIS

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Vegetation Management and Protection Research (VMPR)

Fundamental Plant Science

1.1

182

155

221

219

209

245

238

245

207

155

329

287

243

358

282

281

270

281

Silvicultural Applications

1.2

116

178

201

226

196

162

153

153

176

160

200

310

208

242

289

210

206

214

Quantitative Analysis

1.3

91

60

66

67

68

69

66

127

83

92

45

53

83

61

57

52

73

76

Forest and Rangeland Management

1.4

87

69

140

128

98

120

111

115

109

102

134

122

178

293

238

234

115

120

Forest Operations Engineering

1.5

39

38

50

66

84

71

70

57

40

46

50

73

58

71

58

49

59

61

Insects/Diseases/Exotic Weeds

1.7

406

447

440

431

489

428

411

339

328

383

337

403

427

480

383

364

279

290

Fire Science

1.9

86

78

105

65

102

88

86

113

56

84

100

100

75

114

101

99

112

116

Subtotal—VMPR

1.0

1,007

1,025

1,223

1,202

1,246

1,183

1,135

1,149

999

1,022

1,195

1,348

1,272

1,619

1,408

1,289

1,114

1,158

Wildlife, Fish, Watershed, and Atmospheric Sciences Research (WFWAR)

Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat

2.1

144

136

134

138

136

165

162

156

147

121

204

190

213

288

269

287

281

292

Aquatic Habitat

2.2

31

21

28

37

18

26

27

38

17

27

46

34

73

81

103

95

109

113

Watershed

2.3

149

141

183

119

189

177

173

215

219

292

141

219

181

226

301

282

253

263

Atmospheric Sciences

2.4

13

28

32

30

35

19

17

10

32

21

51

31

49

62

95

77

83

86

Subtotal—WFWAR

2.0

337

326

377

324

378

387

379

419

415

461

442

474

516

657

768

741

726

754

Resource Valuation and Use Research (RVUR)

Economics

3.1

94

122

128

142

182

205

196

131

190

159

142

215

168

200

175

187

113

117

Urban Forestry

3.2

33

23

41

25

36

45

42

31

17

58

46

2

49

60

40

51

37

38

Wilderness

3.3

7

6

9

6

7

7

6

4

5

8

9

23

8

11

9

15

16

17

Social/Cultural

3.4

64

54

78

53

62

59

56

40

49

74

77

211

68

97

78

135

144

150

Forest Product Utilization and Processing

3.5

212

170

221

210

192

197

188

102

144

142

157

169

238

244

285

258

240

249

Forest Product Safety/Human Health

3.6

44

63

66

67

65

84

80

126

71

72

81

101

70

80

64

59

108

112

Subtotal—RVUR

3.0

454

438

543

503

544

596

568

434

476

513

512

721

600

692

651

705

658

683

Inventory and Monitoring Research (I&M)

Forest Inventory & Analysis

4.1

88

92

99

119

110

143

138

203

109

120

107

123

105

122

102

166

78

81

Forest Health Monitoring

4.2

22

23

Monitoring Methods/Applications

4.3

23

47

36

46

18

19

Subtotal—I&M

4.0

88

92

99

119

110

143

138

203

109

120

107

123

128

169

138

212

118

123

General

0.0

28

17

31

21

21

20

22

79

49

148

7

20

71

56

58

GRAND TOTAL

1,886

1,909

2,259

2,179

2,299

2,330

2,240

2,227

2,078

2,165

2,404

2,673

2,536

3,208

3,021

3,005

2,616

2,718

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 51

increased their output of publications. WFWAR increased the most, from 337 in 1981 to 754 in 1999 (a 124% increase). IM publication numbers were fairly constant, VMPR increased about 15 percent, and RVUR increased rapidly and then declined to about a 50 percent increase over the base year, 1981.

Source: R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, July 1999.

Those trends appear to indicate that Forest Service researchers have become more productive in the measure that is most easily quantified. Some of that could be inherent productivity gains, some a response to fears that less productive RWUs and scientists will suffer reductions in force as budgets decline, and some gamesmanship in reporting to represent internal and external publications better. When productivity is evaluated in terms of the number of publications per year compared with the annual Forest Service research budget, it appears that productivity increased from approximately 25 publications per $1 million in 1985 to 28 publications per $1 million in 1998. Whether the Forest Service scientists and RWUs are actually more productive in their overall contributions to advancing the state of science or increasing knowledge remains moot.

Research Quality

Quality of research programs is more difficult to measure than financial resources and publications. With the pressure of increased productivity, Forest Service and other researchers are required to respond to the most quantifiable indicators of research success, which could potentially place too much emphasis on publications. That might harm research and shift efforts toward more applied or superficial topics and publication of “least publishable units” and away from challenging high-priority goals and seminal and integrative papers. The primary focus on applied or superficial topics also could adversely affect technology transfer efforts, in that they can receive less credit for research quality than other types of publications. The quality of research programs is hard to assess, as is their impact on forest management and protection. Such measures as success in receiving externally funded peer-reviewed grants or external peer reviews of science programs as suggested by the National Academies (1999), might be required to assess research program quality in the Forest Service and other forestry-research organizations.

Research Advisory Body

The Forest Research Advisory Council was authorized in 1995 and was reestablished by departmental regulation in 2002 as a requirement of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, Section 1441c to provide advice to the Secretary of Agriculture on accomplishing efficiently the purposes of the Act of October 10, 1962 (16 U.S.C. 582a et seq.), commonly known as the McIntire-Stennis Act. The Council provides advice related to the Forest Service research program and reports to the Secretary on regional and national planning and coordination of forestry research within the Federal and State agencies concerned with developing and utilizing the Nation's forest resources, forestry schools, and the forest industries. In addition, the Council provides advice to the Secretary on the apportionment of funds for the McIntire-Stennis Program. The Council consists of 20 members appointed by the Secretary. These members are drawn from

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Page 52

federal, state, university, industry, and volunteer public organizations. Support to the Council is provided by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and the Forest Service and it is served by 0.3 staff years.

The functions and responsibilities of the council include:

  • Meeting at least once annually
  • Reporting to the Secretary on regional and national planning and coordination of forestry research within the Federal and State agencies, forestry schools, and the forest industries
  • Advising the Secretary on apportionment of funds
  • Making special reports to the Secretary jointly through the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment.

The Council has most of its membership coming from university and industry, and could be better balanced with perspectives needed to address the Council's charter. Needed perspectives other than those of the USDA Forest Service include a broader range of research partners and colleagues, stakeholders, users, and planners. The Council's work could be enhanced with input from more federal agencies outside of the USDA and the EPA, the only two federal agencies represented on the Council. Although the members of the Council work with others in the scientific community apart from the USDA and EPA, the council's work would benefit from broader perspectives offered by professionals in other government agencies, universities, and other research organizations.

The charter of the Council provides it with the authority to make recommendations on funding, planning and coordination of forestry research. The opportunity for greater involvement of all sectors concerned with forestry research exists. The Council's work could be more effective if it were better focused on the portions of its duties concerned with setting research priorities of McIntire-Stennis funding and monitoring accomplishments, and advising the Forest Service with research planning and priorities

Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges

A large amount of research is performed in schools and colleges. Faculties are drawn from an array of disciplines. They teach, perform research, and provide extension and professional services. Their total contribution to forestry research is substantial, probably equaling or exceeding that of the Forest Service. Some 48 universities have Society of American Foresters-accredited forestry curricula, and more than 60 universities or colleges have identifiable forestry and natural resources programs.

Faculty

Table 3–5 summarizes the trends in forestry faculty employment at 53 universities that have forestry programs and is derived from the USDA Handbook 305 (1994). As of the 1993–1994 academic year, there were 1,459 faculty listed in the handbook as being in

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Page 53

the principal forestry, wildlife, fisheries, or natural resources departments. That constitutes a slight decline from the 1,503 listed for 1984–1985, but it is probably within the error of tabulation, given the expanding nature of forestry and natural resources departments. Many colleges and schools have added departments that contribute to forestry research and teaching capacity but are not included in the totals in Table 3–5. The South and the Lake States had slight declines in numbers of forestry faculty; the Midwest had a large decline. The Rocky Mountains and the West increased their numbers.

Data are not available on this, but most colleges and departments have split appointments between research and teaching and to a lesser extent, extension. If research accounted for about half the faculty full-time equivalents (FTEs), there might be about 700 faculty research FTEs. In the aggregate, the total faculty research FTEs in the United States are apt to be greater than the total Forest Service scientist FTEs. The teaching FTEs also contribute to research capacity, particularly in relation to their influences on graduate students. These interactions are discussed Chapter 4.

Forestry Extension

Forestry and natural-resources extension programs provide direct support for disseminating research findings to research users, such as nonindustrial private forest landowners, urban residents, production and environmental interest groups, natural-resource professionals, state and federal agencies, local governments, and policy-makers. Formal or informal extension efforts provide help to ensure that research results are used expeditiously.

The Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) provides federal funding for cooperative extension efforts at qualifying state universities and colleges. RREA has been authorized for budgets of up to $15 million per year, but appropriations have been much less. Funding started at $2 million in 1982, and was $3.2 million in FY 1999. State cooperative extension funding has also contributed to programs that have extension forestry specialists or regional or county agents. According to our calculations derived from the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges (NAPFSC, 1999) report, forestry extension at member institutions accounts for about $20 million per year, including RREA funds. Thus, RREA funds are leveraged with state and county funding sources, at about a 9:1 ratio. However, state funds for extension appear to be declining due to budget cuts by 2001.

The United States has 9.9 million nonindustrial private forest landowners (Birch 1996), who own 49 percent of the nation's forest land and 58 percent of the nation's commercial timberland (Smith et al., 2001). Technology transfer is also needed for the even greater number of urban residents and for public land managers. The sum of $20 million per year indicates that technology transfer is much more modestly funded than research.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Page 54

Table 3–5. Trends in Forestry Employment in Universities.

Number of Faculty

Region and Institution

1984–1985 a

1986–1987 b

1993–1994 c

East

University of Connecticut

8

5

6

University of Maine

27

29

24

University of Massachusetts

20

21

33

University of New Hampshire

15

15

16

Rutgers College

13

13

15

Cornell University

27

31

42

State University of New York-CESF

120

121

106

Pennsylvania State

45

43

38

University of Rhode Island

10

10

10

University of Vermont

25

25

29

Virginia Tech

53

56

58

West Virginia University

38

40

29

Subtotal, East

401

409

406

Lake States

Michigan State University

25

27

21

University of Michigan

51

59

33

Michigan Technological University

15

13

21

University of Minnesota

43

44

47

University of Wisconsin

42

47

42

Subtotal, Lake States

176

190

164

Midwest

University of Illinois

21

18

18

Southern Illinois University

13

12

11

Purdue University

32

31

24

Iowa State University

12

12

13

Kansas State University

4

4

4

University of Missouri

34

34

19

University of Nebraska

9

9

5

Ohio State University

19

19

16

Subtotal, Midwest

144

139

110

Rocky Mountains

University of Arizona

37

40

37

Northern Arizona University

12

19

23

Colorado State University

20

16

21

University of Idaho

51

54

39

University of Montana

28

30

35

Utah State University

16

17

14

Subtotal, Rocky Mountains

164

176

169

West

University of California-Berkeley

37

36

47

Humboldt State College

12

14

12

University of Alaska-Fairbanks

7

6

7

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 55

Table 3–5. Trends in Forestry Employment in Universities. (continued)

Number of Faculty

Region and Institution

1984–1985 a

1986–1987 b

1993–1994 c

University of Nevada

8

6

8

Oregon State University

81

72

75

Washington State University

26

28

39

University of Washington

58

55

54

Subtotal, West

229

217

242

South

Auburn University

36

38

47

Alabama A&M University

2

2

6

University of Arkansas-Monticello

15

17

20

University of Florida

31

25

26

University of Georgia

36

38

34

University of Kentucky

12

14

15

Louisiana State University

28

28

19

Louisiana Tech University

10

8

9

Mississippi State University

27

26

30

North Carolina State University

81

81

73

Oklahoma State University

14

12

14

Clemson University

35

35

22

University of Tennessee

24

23

16

Texas A&M University

17

18

17

Stephen F. Austin College

21

22

20

Subtotal, South

389

387

368

Grand Total

1503

1518

1459

(Percentage of 1984–1985)

(100%)

(101%)

(97%)

aSource: USDA Cooperative States Research Service Agricultural Handbook No. 305:1984–1985 Directory of Professional Workers in State Agricultural Experiment Stations and Other Cooperating State Institutions. January 1985.

bSource: USDA Cooperative States Research Service Agricultural Handbook No. 305:1986–1987 Directory of Professional Workers in State Agricultural Experiment Stations and Other Cooperating State Institutions. January 1987.

cSource: USDA Cooperative States Research Service Agricultural Handbook No. 305:1993–1994 Directory of Professional Workers in State Agricultural Experiment Stations and Other Cooperating State Institutions. January 1994.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 56

A serious disconnect between forestry research and its application on the ground limits the application of existing and new knowledge (Callaham, 1989; NAPFSC, 1999). Universities, governments, and private companies share the responsibility for training technical professionals to function at the interface between science and management. In addition to training people to operate at the interface, forest managers need to be lifelong learners. Researchers need to listen and respond to forest managers' needs and to articulate the practical significance and benefits of their research. Extension personnel must play a critical role in transferring knowledge gained through research to applications in forest management.

Private Industry

It is estimated that one to several hundred scientific research personnel are employed in the forest industry. Industry research can be categorized into five areas: forest health, water quality, fish and wildlife, ecosystem management, and timber productivity. A large portion of the environmental research (research in categories other than timber productivity) focuses on environmental protection in the context of timber management, rather than on basic studies of flora and fauna. Most of the results of the environmental research are available to the public and the general scientific community, whereas most of the results of the timber-productivity research are not.

Total Forestry Research Workforce by Sector, Function, and Sustainable Forest Management Criteria

A recent survey conducted by the USDA Forest Service (2002) provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date estimate of the total forestry research workforce as of 2001. This survey was conducted in part, in response to early requests for input and data for this NRC study and in conjunction with Forest Service efforts to measure and monitor the U.S. participation in meeting the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators, which are discussed in Chapter 2. The study surveyed all U.S. professional forestry schools and colleges, the Forest Service, and the U.S. forest products industry to determine personnel efforts in research, education, and extension, broken down into the seven criteria for sustainable forest management. This study provides a thorough summary of current comparative efforts for forestry research and development, except for the newer federal agencies, state organizations, and nongovernment organizations that perform forestry research. Table 3–6 summarizes the results.

The total effort reported by the Forest Service (2002) survey includes 1,346 full-time equivalents (FTEs) for all three sectors in research; 598 FTEs in teaching; and 243 FTEs in extension. In total, 2186 FTEs are devoted to research (62%), teaching (27%), or extension (11%) activities by the identified forestry organizations. Universities have the largest number of FTEs devoted to all three functions, with 1361 persons (62%), the Forest Service has the second largest workforce with 701 scientists (32%), and the forest industry has 124 forest scientist FTEs (6%). The Forest Service has the largest number of research scientist FTEs with 658 (49 %), the universities follow with 575 (43%), and the industry has 112 (8%). Academia has 98.7% of the teaching FTEs (596), followed

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 57

distantly by the Forest Service and industry with only one each. The university sector also has 78% of the extension FTEs (190), followed by the Forest Service with 42 (17%), and the private forest industry with 11 (5%).

These data provide a basis for comparison of earlier estimates. The previous estimate for total Forest Service personnel for 1999 was 537 research scientists. The Forest Service (2002) total of 658 FTEs shows an increase in the number of scientists over 1999, but this number probably includes post-doctoral positions and other scientists that may not have been included in the earlier data set. However, there has been an increase in Forest Service research funding and capacity in the last few years. On the other hand, the new Forest Service (2002) survey of university faculty in forestry departments found there were only 1361 FTEs, compared to 1459 by the USDA Handbook 305 (1994). The USDA Handbook includes forestry, fisheries, and natural resource departments. That broader definition probably accounts for the larger number of FTEs, and suggests that there may still be a fairly stable or even increasing capacity in all of the natural resource faculty at universities. There were no previous estimates of the forestry extension workforce. The 243 FTEs in the United States represents a substantial workforce, with at least some representation in all sectors.

The reported forest industry research workforce estimate was smaller than previously estimated, at 124 persons rather than several hundred. It should be noted that dozens to perhaps more than 100 scientists are involved in forestry research through state organizations, federal environmental agencies, and domestic and international environmental nongovernment organizations.

The data on effort by SFM Criteria demonstrate that for all research, education, and extension FTEs, Criterion 1 (biological diversity) and 2 (productive capacity) each included about 21% of the total scientists' effort, at about 450 FTEs. Criterion 6 (socio-economics) included 393 FTEs (18%). Ecosystem health and soil and water each had about 300 FTEs (14% each). The institutional framework and carbon cycles criteria had the smallest reported effort, with 166 FTEs (8%) and 122 FTEs (6%), respectively.

For research FTEs alone, the percentage effort among SFM Criteria was fairly similar. The research FTE effort by universities was the greatest in biological diversity criterion (155 FTEs), followed by socio-economics (131 FTEs), productive capacity (85 FTEs), and institutional framework (72 FTEs). The Forest Service research efforts were dominated by the productive capacity (158 FTEs), ecosystem health (156 FTEs), and biological diversity (112 FTEs) criteria. Forest industry research efforts were dominated with activity in productive capacity (67 FTEs) and soil and water (20 FTEs).

These findings indicate that universities appear to have the most diverse research portfolio and are relatively strong in social science efforts. The Forest Service focuses on core biological criteria, and appears to have a slight plurality of its research FTEs focused on productive capacity. The combined biological diversity and ecosystem health criteria workforce is effectively the largest area, and is focused on broader issues. The forest industry focuses on productivity questions, with soil and water quality also being important.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 58

Table 3–6. Full Time Equivalents of U.S. Forestry Scientists by Sector, Function, and SFM Criterion, 2001.

Sustainable Forest Management Criterion

1:

Biological Diversity

2:

Productive Capacity

3:

Ecosystem Health

4:

Soil and Water

5:

Carbon Cycles

6:

Socio-economics

7:

Institutional Framework

Total

%

By Function

Academic Institutions

Teaching

155

85

50

77

28

131

72

596

44

Research

136

96

53

84

47

114

45

575

42

Extension

27

40

25

26

3

48

22

190

14

Subtotal

318

221

128

186

77

293

138

1361

100

% By Criterion

23

16

9

14

6

22

10

100

USDA Forest Service

Teaching

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Research

112

158

156

86

41

80

25

658

94

Extension

9

3

10

6

1

10

3

42

6

Subtotal

122

161

166

92

43

90

27

701

100

% By Criterion

17

23

24

13

6

13

4

100

Forest Industry

Teaching

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

Research

10

67

5

20

3

9

0

112

91

Extension

1

8

1

2

0

0

0

11

9

Subtotal

10

75

5

22

3

10

0

124

100

% By Criterion

8

60

4

17

2

8

0

100

All Sectors

Teaching

155

85

50

77

28

132

72

598

27

Research

258

321

214

189

91

203

70

1346

62

Extension

37

51

35

34

4

59

24

243

11

Total All Functions

450

457

299

300

122

393

166

2186

100

% by Criterion

21

21

14

14

6

18

8

100

Total Research Only

258

321

214

189

91

203

70

1346

% by Criterion

19

24

16

14

7

15

5

100

Source: USDA Forest Service 2002

Notes: Data may not add exactly due to rounding

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 59

INVESTMENT IN FORESTRY RESEARCH

Focusing on the financial resources devoted to forestry research overlooks other important factors in measuring research capacity, such as human resources devoted to research. Although research funding is often used as a proxy for these inputs and for research activity in general, it is important to note that research funds purchase the services of scientists and research personnel and the equipment they use.

Forest Service Research Support

Support for Forest Service research encompasses several components, including direct research appropriations, construction appropriations, and reimbursable expenses. Trends for appropriated Forest Service research dollars are summarized in Table 3–1. Research received $111.5 million in FY 1980 and $229.1 million in FY 2001. If the cost of inflation is accounted for (converting the funding to constant 1980 dollars), Forest Service research funding dropped from $111.5 million in FY 1980 to $106.5 million in FY 2001. The total appropriated budget for Forest Service research in FY 2001 was also lower (in constant 1980 dollars) than the FY 1994 budget, which had $200 million in appropriated funds and $19.6 million in reimbursable accounts, for a total of almost $220 million or $122.3 million in constant 1980 dollars. In addition, the agency periodically has received congressional earmarks for specific projects, locations, or buildings, particularly in the late 1980s, which reduce the discretionary budget even more than is apparent by looking at total funding.

Forest Service research funds were appropriated by broad disciplinary budget line items (BLIs) until FY 1994 and have since been consolidated into one appropriation. Table 3–2 summarizes these appropriations by BLI from, with estimated breakdowns being made for the last five fiscal years. FY 1994 was the last year that Forest Service research received direct funding for major BLIs, rather than as one consolidated research budget. At that time, research programs were divided among forest protection (about $41 million), resource analysis ($32 million), forest management ($41 million), forest environment and ecosystem ($53 million), and forest products and harvesting ($26 million).

The trends in Forest Service research vary among disciplines. Forest-protection research funding decreased from $32 million in FY 1980 to $14 million in constant 1980 dollars or $30 million in 2001 dollars. Forest products research had an increase of about $9 million in funding between 1980 and 2001, which is actually a decrease of $5.2 million if inflation is considered. Resource analysis experienced an increase, with FY 2000 in constant 1980 dollars slightly higher than the FY 1980 level, a $712,000 increase. Timber and forest management increased the most, by about $5 million in constant 1980 dollars, and the forest environment and ecosystem BLI increased by about $1 million in constant 1980 dollars.

The appropriations statistics in Tables 3–1 and 3–2 indicate that in constant dollars, changes in appropriations appear to have been favorable to forest-industry related research (i.e., timber and forest management research). Research areas that focus on the environment (i.e., forest environment and ecosystem research) did not fare as well. In

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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general, while appropriations fell by 8.4 percent in constant dollars in the two decades following 1980, they went up by 27.0 percent in timber and forest management research. They fell by 43.8 percent in forest protection (forest health) research and went up by only 12.3 percent in forest environment and ecosystem research despite the increased public attention to issues in both of these areas. The increase in forest timber and forest management research appropriations may surprise some, since the forest industry generally perceives that the Forest Service does substantially less timber productivity research.

The 1990 National Research Council report on forestry research called for a reorientation of research (and forest management) to address environmental concerns. If the recommendations of the 1990 report had been implemented, environmental and ecosystem research appropriations presumably would have experienced a greater increase, but in fact these areas remained relatively flat in real terms since the early 1990s, while timber and forest management research went up by more than 50 percent in constant dollars. However, strict interpretation of these data must be qualified to recognize that forest-industry research priorities have broadened in the past decades to include environmental forestry and performance, water issues, and sustainable productivity (AFPA, 1996). Furthermore, the Forest Service shifted to a broader set of research projects in the forest management category than was performed in the old timber management category. The appropriations categories are broad and may conceal actual research priorities, but, if assessed literally, the numbers appear to reflect Forest Service and Congressional priorities.

The Forest Service provides extramural research contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements to universities, nonprofit organizations, and some other private organizations ( Table 3–1). Extramural funding has varied considerably since FY 1980, when the Forest Service provided $10.6 million to cooperating organizations. Extramural research funding peaked in FY 1992, when the Forest Service provided $17.5 million in constant 1980 dollars ($29.6 million in 1992 dollars); in FY 1996, it decreased to 7.9 million in constant 1980 dollars ($14.7 million in 1996 dollars), and in FY 2001 it increased to $10.2 million in constant 1980 dollars ($22 million in 2001).

In FY 1981, the Forest Service spent $14.2 million of $108.5 million on extramural contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. That was 13.1 percent of its total research budget. In FY 1992, the agency spent approximately 16.3 percent on extramural research, and this declined to 9.4 percent in FY 1998. While data are lacking, it appears that almost all of these agreements are negotiated among individual Forest Service scientists and university professors, lacking any broad competition or peer review. The agency does not sponsor any national competitive grant research.

Forest Service extramural funding went mostly to land grant universities in FY 1997—$15,360,000 of the $19.9 million total. However, in FY 1998, non-land-grant universities received the largest amount of extramural research funding—$7,654,000 compared with $7,595,000 for land-grant institutions. The 1890 historically black colleges and universities received about a half million dollars in extramural funding in both fiscal years. Nonprofit organizations received about $1.6 million; state and local governments, $250,000–825,000; and foreign for-profit and nonprofit organizations and private individuals, about $85,000 (USDA Forest Service, 1999).

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 61

Other Federal Forestry-Research Funding

The largest other direct federal funding for forestry research is provided under the authorization of the McIntire-Stennis Act of 1962. The act provides federal financial support to colleges and universities for forestry research and graduate education. Whereas Forest Service research budgets are authorized and appropriated in Congress in conjunction with those of the Department of the Interior and related agencies, McIntire-Stennis funds are appropriated in the congressional agriculture committees, similar to the Hatch Act funds for the state land grant agricultural experiment stations.

Table 3–7 summarizes federal appropriations for McIntire-Stennis funds from 1980 to 1999. They are adjusted to constant 1980 dollars for comparison of purchasing power. The McIntire-Stennis expenditures increased gradually from $9.7 million in FY 1980 to $11.9 million in FY 1987, jumped to $16.8 million in 1988, and increased to $21.9 million by FY 2000. The funds in actual dollars have increased only slightly in constant 1980 dollars.

Three major factors have been used to determine the proportion of McIntire-Stennis funds that states receive (National Research Council, 1990, P. 18):

  • Proportion of acreage in commercial forest land (40%)
  • Volume of roundwood produced (40%)
  • Amount of nonfederal money spent on forestry research (20%)

Some flexibility is built into the formula; for example, the weight of the factors is not mandated by law, but is set by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Table 3–8 summarizes the McIntire-Stennis appropriations for FY 2000. The funds are distributed among the public forestry schools and colleges throughout the nation, and they provide crucial support for many forestry programs. Fifteen of the 50 states each received more than $500,000 in 2000, and each state received more than $50,000. States with more than one forestry school or college split the funding among relevant institutions. Once allocated to states, funds may be administered or allocated entirely within the relevant forestry school, college, division, or department, or they may be distributed competitively among the faculty at a university ( Box 3–1). Proposals have been made to extend McIntire-Stennis funding to other institutions, such as 1890 historically black colleges and universities and 1994 Native American natural-resources schools. Such extensions would require additional funding, and additional faculty and infrastructure at recipient institutions, to enhance national research capacity.

The McIntire-Stennis funds provide a foundation for maintaining forestry research at qualifying institutions. This relatively reliable source of funds has undoubtedly allowed the expansion of university forestry-research capacity throughout the country. It also has ensured that all qualifying schools receive some funds each year and that funds are well distributed geographically, institutionally, and programmatically. Even small forestry programs are able to perform some applied research with McIntire-Stennis funds, as well as to support graduate education. Funding under the act can be compared with the competitive grant approach, where the large research institutions tend

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 62

to receive by far the most funds and have the most success, and small schools are rarely able to compete well. The formula funds provide a base level of support for forestry research and graduate education at qualifying public forestry schools, colleges, and departments throughout the nation. They are particularly important for providing reasonable stability, especially for long-term research, which is important to adequately address foundation and emerging issues (University of Idaho, 1983). McIntire-Stennis funds may also be spent on forestry research in other departments or colleges, depending on agreements in individual states.

Another strength attributed to the availability of research funding through formula allocation like McIntire-Stennis is that it reduces the proportion of a researcher's time spent applying for competitive grants. Because grant application processes are time consuming and can have low rates of success, formula funding allows more time for researchers to devote to performing the funded research (Huffman and Evenson, 1993). In recent years, formula funds, as McIntire-Stennis and Hatch Act appropriations are referred to, have been considered less desirable than competitive grants. Concurrently the forestry-related formula allocations have received relatively small increases, which has resulted in a reduced the share of federal research funds appropriated through USDA compared with other federal agencies, such as NASA, EPA, and NSF. The small increases in formula funding might be attributed to decline in political influence of rural agricultural and forestry interests, but a portion could be due to the nature of the administration of formula funds and their perception. One of the perceived weaknesses of formula funds is that research conducted with formula funds is not automatically subject to peer review.

Box 3–1 Hatch and McIntire-Stennis Proposalsat the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin

Hatch and McIntire-Stennis (M-S) funding is open to faculty members in CALS, SOHE, and AHABS. Faculty from other colleges and universities may be collaborators on a project. Investigators may submit proposals for an individual-investigator grant, or a multiple-investigator interdisciplinary grant. The Hatch and M-S competition supports a wide range of research. While graduate training is central to use of formula funds, and encouraged as a typical request, some exceptions may be possible. Each proposal is judged on appropriateness of proposed research for formula funding, quality of the science, and likelihood of successful achievement of those goals. Interdisciplinary proposals with multiple investigators are considered in the open competition with the following considerations:

  • High quality of research work proposed
  • Special emphasis on problem solving for Wisconsin
  • Realistic budgets and work specification
  • Evidence that the interdisciplinary team has worked together on the proposal
  • Plans to link the research to extension or outreach activities
  • Demonstration of productivity from past and present formula funding for all collaborators
Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 63

There are valid criticisms of the way peer review tends to operate nevertheless, many see peer review as the key to quality control in scientific endeavor (Chubin and Hackett, 1990; National Research Council 2000). Formula funds also have lacked effective means of accountability in terms of how they have been used by state institutions or whether they have been devoted to research issues that justify federal support (Alston and Pardey, 1996). Formula funds for forestry research are also provided under the Hatch Act, as part of the general federal support for the state land grant agricultural experiment stations. A modest amount of the Hatch funds is allocated to forestry research. The 1999 NAPFSC report estimated the total at about $2 million.

McIntire-Stennis and Hatch Act program reviews may be requested by cooperating institutions but are not required on a regular schedule. Perhaps a return to more regular external scientific reviews, such as suggested by the National Research Council (1999), would be desirable. Providing more research oversight and evaluation might be a way to ensure the quality of research conducted with these funds (University of California, 2001; Box 3–2). Greater competition for formula funds within schools also might broaden the base of scientists who perform research with formula funds and enhance quality. More external peer reviews and more funding competition will improve consistency and quality among formula funded research. Those steps also might foster better communication about and support for the programs.

Leveraging Research Support

The National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges (NAPFSC, 1999) provides a detailed history and status report of the McIntire-Stennis program and its accomplishments. Many of the successes of the program and its effectiveness in leveraging state and private-sector funds for forestry research are noted in the report. For FY 1997, total forestry research, extension, and education funding at public colleges and universities was about $204 million (NAPFSC, 1999, P. 7):

McIntire-Stennis funding represents 10 percent of the $204 million used by American forestry schools for research, education, and extension. Other federal funds are about 24 percent, States provide 44 percent, industry contributes just over 7 percent, and other non-federal sources (e.g., foundations) add about 14 percent. In 1997, the total federal funding for forestry research, education, and extension at forestry schools was $70 million—about 34 percent of the total. Federal dollars are awarded through formula, competition, and cooperative agreements to achieve goals of national importance. Each McIntire-Stennis dollar leverages approximately nine dollars of other federal, state, and private sources.

The southern NAPFSC group collects data that allow examination of McIntire-Stennis funding compared with other sources. In FY 1998, the 14 reporting southern forestry land grant schools, colleges, and departments had total research budgets of $36 million.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 64

Table 3–7. McIntire-Stennis Funding in Actual and Constant Dollars, FY 1980– 2000.

Fiscal

Appropriations, millions of $

Year

Actual

Constant 1980

1980

9.7

9.7

1981

10.4

9.5

1982

11.3

9.6

1983

11.8

9.6

1984

12.2

9.5

1985

12.4

9.4

1986

11.9

8.8

1987

11.9

8.5

1988

16.8

11.6

1989

17.1

11.3

1990

16.6

10.6

1991

17.1

10.4

1992

17.7

10.5

1993

17.7

10.2

1994

19.8

11.2

1995

19.8

10.9

1996

19.4

10.5

1997

19.4

10.3

1998

20.5

10.7

1999

21.9

11.3

2000

21.9

11.1

Sources: 1) For FY 1980–1997, summary data of McIntire-Stennis Program expenditures as reported on form AD419 to USDA Current Research Information System by recipient institutions.

2) For FY 1998 and 1999, as reported on USDA/CSREES form OD-1088-D, March 5, 1998, and February 9, 1999, respectively.

3) For FY 2000, Agricultural Appropriations Act: FY 2000.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 65

Table 3–8. Distribution of McIntire-Stennis Funds to Eligible State Institutions or Institutional Units.

Location

Institution

Amount, $

Alabama, Auburn

Auburn University

716,214

Alaska, Fairbanks

University of Alaska

446,158

Arizona, Flagstaff

Northern Arizona University

144,704

Arizona, Tucson

University of Arizona

147,849

Arkansas, Fayetteville

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Arkansas

605,514

California, San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University

97,538

California, Arcata

California State University, Humboldt

93,154

California, Berkeley

University of California

455,176

Colorado, Fort Collins

Colorado State University

337,309

Connecticut, New Haven

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

171,346

Connecticut, Storrs

Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Connecticut

57,115

Delaware, Newark

University of Delaware, Agricultural Experiment Station

65,185

Florida, Gainesville

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Florida

553,581

Georgia, Athens

School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia

731,899

Guam, Agana

University of Guam

34,311

Hawaii, Honolulu

University of Hawaii

167,268

Idaho, Moscow

University of Idaho

469,001

Illinois, Carbondale

Southern Illinois University

156,014

Illinois, Urbana

University of Illinois

156,014

Indiana, Lafayette

Purdue University

385,716

Iowa, Ames

Agriculture and Home Economics Station, Iowa State University

269,279

Kansas, Manhattan

Kansas State University

133,216

Kentucky, Lexington

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Kentucky

418,948

Louisiana, Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University, School of Forestry

439,801

Louisiana, Ruston

School of Forestry, Louisiana Tech University

190,994

Maine, Orono

University of Maine

568,614

Maryland, College Park

University of Maryland

242,065

Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Massachusetts

300,406

Michigan, East Lansing

Michigan State University

207,679

Michigan, Houghtor

Michigan Technological University

207,679

Michigan, Ann Arbor

University of Michigan

207,679

Minnesota, St. Paul

University of Minnesota

511,998

Mississippi

Mississippi State University

677,464

Missouri, Columbia

School of Forestry, University of Missouri

459,756

Montana, Missoula

University of Montana, Forestry and Conservation Experimental Station

439,444

Nebraska, Lincoln

University of Nebraska

171,870

Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Mac C. Fleishmann College of Agriculture

116,010

New Hampshire, Durham

University of New Hampshire

282,884

New Jersey, New Brunswick

Rutgers State University, Agricultural Experiment Station

201,247

New Mexico, Las Cruces

New Mexico State University

255,490

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

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Table 3–8. Distribution of McIntire-Stennis Funds to Eligible State Institutions or Institutional Units. (continued)

Location

Institution

Amount, $

New York, Ithaca

New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University

168,754

New York, Syracuse

State University of New York, College of Environmental Sciences

497,895

North Carolina, Raleigh

North Carolina State University

696,688

North Dakota, Fargo

North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

106,003

Ohio, Wooster

Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center

391,734

Oklahoma, Stillwater

Oklahoma State University

364,522

Oregon, Corvallis

Oregon State University

745,495

Pennsylvania, University Park

Agricultural Experiment Station, Pennsylvania State University

514,999

Puerto Rico, Rio Pedras

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Puerto Rico

92,397

Rhode Island, Kingston

University of Rhode Island

80,165

South Carolina, Clemson

College of Forestry and Recreation Resources, Clemson University

541,402

South Dakota, Brookings

South Dakota State University

139,677

Tennessee, Knoxville

University of Tennessee

500,665

Texas, Nacogdoches

Stephen F. Austin State University

283,019

Texas, College Station

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University

299,659

Utah, Logan

Utah State Agricultural Experiment Station

160,428

Vermont, Burlington

University of Vermont

338,143

Virgin Islands, St Thomas

The College of the Virgin Islands

51,579

Virginia, Blacksburg

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

582,220

Washington, Seattle

University of Washington

323,226

Washington, Pullman

Washington State University

323,227

West Virginia, Morgantown

West Virginia State University

405,340

Wisconsin, Madison

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Wisconsin

486,977

Wyoming, Laramie

University of Wyoming

214,854

Total Payments to States

20,688,273

Federal Administration a

636,853

Small Business Set-Aside a

514,832

Biotechology Risk Assessment a

8,828

GRAND TOTAL

21,848,786

aBased on 1999 dollars converted into 2000 dollars.

Source: Allen Moore, USDA/CSREES Current Research Information System, Washington, D.C., personal communication, April 2002.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 67

McIntire-Stennis regional shares totaled $5.2 million (14.4 percent). In comparison, the reporting schools had state appropriated research budgets of $13.3 million (37.0 percent); other federal, state, or private research grants of $14.0 million (38.9 percent); and other sources of income (timber sales, private industry contributions) of $3.6 million (10.2 percent). Thus, in the South, McIntire-Stennis funds, which help to provide base-level programmatic support, were leveraged at a 7:1 ratio from other research sources.

Box 3–2 Reviews Improve Quality of Forestry Research at the University of California Berkeley

The McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Program provides federal funds for forestry research at various universities throughout the country. In California, the University of California, Humboldt State University, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo receive funding from the McIntire-Stennis Act, according to a formula set by the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Based on the Administrative Manual for the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Program:

The scope of forestry research which may be conducted under the McIntire-Stennis (M-S) Act includes investigations relating to:

    reforestation and management of land for the production of timber and other related products of the forest

    management of forest and related watershed lands to improve conditions of water flow and to protect resources against floods and erosion

    management of forest and related rangeland for production of forage for domestic livestock and game and improvement of food and habitat for wildlife

    management of forest lands for outdoor recreation

    protection of forest and resources against fire, insects, diseases, or other destructive agents;

    utilization of wood and other forest products

    development of sound policies for the management of forest lands and the harvesting and marketing of forest products

    such other studies as may be necessary to obtain the fullest and most effective use of forest resources (Source: 16 U.S.C. 582a-6; USDA Forest Service, 1993)

Under the current College of Natural Resources (CNR) administrative structure, the overall research program of every faculty member is reviewed regularly for relevance to CNR and the systemwide Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) missions, excellence of science, and quality of future research plans. This review is conducted by the CNR faculty Research Committee (RESCOM). All funds designated for support of faculty research, including McIntire-Stennis funds, are then allocated by the Dean to faculty members' projects according to the rating received from the RESCOM. This new review program has improved the allocation of these research funds by putting them on a merit basis within CNR. Following federal guidelines for all Federal Formula Funds, McIntire-Stennis funds are allocated only to those faculty members who have active McIntire-Stennis projects.

Source: University of California, Berkeley, http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/forestry/macsten.html

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 68

University Research Support

Public and private funding for all university research has increased dramatically over the last 4 decades, from just under $3 billion in 1959 to an estimated $25 billion or more in 2000 (Committee for Economic Development, 1996). The preceding discussion of McIntire-Stennis funding described the broad distribution of funding sources for the $204 million for public forestry schools and colleges in FY 1997 for research, education, and extension (NAPFSC, 1999). State sources made up 44 percent of the total, other federal sources 18 percent, McIntire-Stennis 10 percent, and other non-federal sources 10 percent. Competitive grants and cooperative agreements and industry programs each constituted 7 percent ($14 million) of the $204 million total. The balance was comprised of self-generated income (4 percent), grants (3 percent), Renewable Resource Extension Act funds (2 percent), and Hatch Act funds (1 percent).

State funds support research, education, and extension. National breakdowns of these three categories are not readily available, but the southern NAPFSC data for FY 1998 are illustrative. Recall that the southern state-appropriated research budgets were 37 percent of all southern forestry-school and college research funds ($13.3 million of $36.0 million). Total southern forestry-school budgets for instruction were $11.1 million, and for extension $4.6 million. State appropriations dominated the totals for teaching (92 percent) and to a lesser extent extension (72 percent). In total, the 14 reporting southern NAPFSC forestry schools had $26.8 million, or 52 percent of all their funds provided by the states. Total southern shares of funding among the three principal functions were 21 percent of the funds for teaching, 70 percent for research, and 9 percent for extension. If one prorates the southern breakdowns to the national total of $204 million in FY 1997, one would infer that national forestry schools spent about $143 million on forestry research, $43 million on education, and $18 million on extension.

Contributions of the Forest Products Industry

United States forest products firms invest millions of dollars for forestry research. The NAPFSC reports that industry contributed about $14 million in funds to various forestry school programs (NAPFSC, 1999). Industry spending on internal research and development related to forestry—both basic and applied—is more substantial but is concentrated in a few large firms.

Current estimates of forest industry research are based on American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) surveys (Cantrell, 2002). AF&PA data indicate that the forest products industry spent $79.5 million on forestry research in 2000 ( Table 3–9). Industry research is distributed among five classifications: forest health ($50.6 million), water quality ($7.9 million), fish and wildlife ($8 million), ecosystem management ($7.1 million), and other ($5.9 million). The distribution of research expenditures has an apparent strong focus on environmental issues and problems. The $5.9 million spent on “other” may be the only category strictly devoted to research on enhancing timber productivity.

In addition to the SFI tabulation of forest industry funding, the National Council of Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) receives separate funds for forestry research.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 69

Table 3–9. Sustainable-Forestry Research Funding by Industry through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program, in dollars.

Category

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

1995–2001

Research Funding

Forest health

30,626,666

37,834,175

42,756,981

43,718,598

44,496,601

50,597,539

35,640,724

285,671,824

Water quality

4,049,731

5,225,464

3,674,481

3,880,018

5,341,227

7,889,960

5,622,303

35,683,184

Fish and wildlife

4,161,855

5,674,969

4,830,664

5,498,191

6,500,639

8,041,715

6,729,270

41,437,303

Ecosystem management

6,504,830

6,566,151

5,059,830

4,621,053

22,751,864

7,090,636

9,506,448

44,813,385

All other research funding

7,679,510

6,687,074

7,553,104

10,620,211

32,539,899

5,857,093

14,724,710

61,870,189

Total research funding

53,022,592

61,987,833

63,875,060

68,338,071

70,551,391

79,476,943

72,223,455

469,475,345

Research Funding Allocations—Internal vs. External

Internal research funding

45,523,965

53,591,277

55,165,458

58,186,555

58,579,348

59,266,267

57,987,941

330,312,870

External research funding

7,498,627

8,396,556

8,709,602

10,151,516

11,972,043

20,210,676

14,235,514

66,939,020

Total research funding

53,022,592

61,987,833

63,875,060

68,338,071

70,551,391

79,476,943

72,223,455

469,475,345

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 70

For 1999, NCASI spent about $2.9 million on sustainable forestry ($1.1 million), forested watersheds ($0.6 million), eastern wildlife ($0.4 million), and western wildlife ($0.8 million). Sustainable forestry research included environmental effects of intensive management practices, long-term site productivity, landscape ecology and management, and global climate change. Watershed research included streamside management practices, roads, and cumulative effects. Wildlife research addressed threatened and endangered species management and habitat values of managed forests (Al Lucier, personal communication, 1999).

The forest industry also sponsors research directly through membership in the Institute for Paper Science and Technology (IPST), housed at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. IPST performs research and transfers technology in paper science, including a program in basic biology and wood properties. Its 1999 budget was about $12 million.

Other Sources of Research Support

Funding of forestry has many other federal sources (“other federal sources”; 18 percent, $37 million; NAPFSC, 1999), including grants from EPA, NASA, NSF, DOE, and the USDA National Research Initiative (NRI) competitive grants program. Non-traditional sources of forestry research funding have increased in recent years. In fact, the $37 million NAPFSC total is $23 million greater than the $14 million reported as coming from (mostly USDA Forest Service) cooperative agreements. The growth of non-traditional sources might be attributed to a leveling off of funding for USDA Forest Service cooperative agreements; an expanding forestry mission for agencies such as DOE, EPA, and NASA; and aggressive pursuit of new sources of funding by university professors.

Many other federal agencies perform forestry research directly, as well as giving external grants. In addition, many schools and departments other than the NAPFSC forestry schools and departments perform forestry research. Separating out all the internal and external forestry research in agencies, and in NAPFSC and non-NAPFSC schools proved to be impossible for this report. Our best estimates of federal agency objectives and funding for forestry research are discussed below.

Funding of forestry-related topics by the USDA's National Research Initiative (NRI) ranged from $4.5 million in 1998 to $9.9 million in 1995 ( Table 3–10). That included a fairly stable component of funding for research in use and wood products of about $2 million each year, and a widely fluctuating amount of forestry related research, ranging from a low of $2.2 million in 1996 to the high of $7.8 million in 1995. Funding varies with the merits and success of the individual grants that are submitted to the larger NRI competitive process for all relevant disciplines each year. Total NRI funding ranged from $96 million in 1994 to $88 million in 1998.

The USDA also funded a new program called the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) in FY 2000 and FY 2001. This program has components in agricultural genomics, agricultural biotechnology, food safety, new uses for agriculture products, natural resource management, and farm efficiency. In FY 2000, three major grants related directly to forestry were awarded, totaling $8,593,000.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
×

Page 71

Table 3–10. Federal Funding for Forestry Research by Selected Agency and Program, FY 1994–2000 (thousands of $).

Agency/Program

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

USDA

National Research Initiative (NRI) a

6,512

9,939

4,121

6,960

4,500

b

Forestry

4,244

7,783

2,298

4,424

2,654

Improved utilization of wood and fiber

2,266

2,156

1,823

2,536

1,846

Agricultural Research Service (ARS),

Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems c

1,924

2,252

NSF d

Division of Environmental Biology

5,885

17,906

15,217

17,892

9,409

Division of Biological Infrastructure

892

1,189

86

1,393

5,171

Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience

0

2,484

1,128

665

730

Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

0

0

0

0

561

Total

6,777

21,579

16,431

19,950

15,871

DOE e

Terrestrial Carbon Processes Research Program

4,934

5,476

4,486

Ecosystems Research Program

3,454

3,645

3,133

National Institute for Global Environmental Change Program

3,722

3,074

Total

8,388

12,843

10,693

NASA f

Research and analysis programs

 

13,100

9,400

13,600

Terrestrial Ecology

7,700

6,500

7,800

Land Cover and Land Use Change

4,000

2,000

4,300

Earth Observing System Interdisciplinary Science

1,000

400

1,100 g

Natural Hazards (Fire)

400

500

200

Forest Topography (Analysis of Radar Data) h

0

0

200

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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aSource: Cindy Huebner, USDA/NRI, Washington, DC, personal communication, October 1999. Data include projects directly related to forests or forestry. Data exclude indirect forestry-related research (such as, genetics of forest pests and wood products).

bData not available.

cSource: Paula Geiger, USDA Office of Budget Program Analysis, Washington, DC, personal communication, March 2000. Data present funding for agroforestry. 2001 president's budget for agroforestry is $2,252,000.

dSource: James Edwards, NSF, Arlington, VA, personal communication, December 1999.

eSource: Karen L.Carlson, DOE, Germantown, MD, personal communication, March 2000.

fSource: Diane Wickland, NASA, Washington, DC, personal communication, February 2000. Data include investments in satellite data analysis specific to forests but not to all vegetation. Data exclude investments in space missions (flight and ground software and hardware) that observe forests.

gDoes not include new program selections for FY 2000.

hThis program cuts across the four preceding programs. It was supported as a part of two one-time space shuttle science missions—Shuttle Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).

These included establishment of a tropical forestry center, a sustainable forestry proposal, and a forest biotechnology proposal.

NSF provides grants for research related to forests. The foundation does not have a forestry research division, but many research grants and Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site projects deal directly with forests, forestry, trees, or wood. Estimates of recent NSF research related to forestry or trees ranged from a high of $21.5 million in 1996 to $15.9 million in 1999. The Divisions of Environmental Biology and Biological Infrastructure provided the majority of this funding.

DOE began an Agenda 2020 research program related to forestry in 1996. In addition, it has funded a variety of forestry-related energy projects for decades. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed for the DOE and conducts direct forest-related research. The previous expenditures by DOE for forestry research were more than $7 million per year. Annual Agenda 2020 expenditures were about $2 to 3 million from 1996 to 1999. Most of those expenditures were targeted toward biotechnology, physiology, soil productivity, remote sensing and wood quality research, but sustainable forestry projects received a substantial share.

EPA has performed or funded a rapidly increasing amount of forestry research, focusing on such issues as global climate change, carbon storage, water quality, and air quality. EPA personnel demurred on providing estimates of their research related to forestry, noting that their work was focused on aquatic resources. They did note, however, that they conduct research on related topics, such as land-use and land cover changes, biogenic emissions from forest canopies and fires, forests as a component of riparian zone restoration, forest fragmentation and habitat, acid deposition and vegetation effects, pesticide effects and exposures to terrestrial vegetation, and whole-watershed assessments. If one uses a somewhat broader definition of forestry-related research, relevant EPA expenditures would be about $10 to 20 million per year.

NASA has funded increasing amounts of research related to forests in recent years. NASA's estimated contribution to forestry research is about $10 million per year, with terrestrial ecology being the largest portion.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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There are other sources of government and nongovernment funding of research in forestry subjects, either narrowly or broadly defined. Nongovernment organizations, such as The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy, have applied-research programs that specifically address forestry issues and problems. State forestry organizations such as those of Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Georgia, and Virginia either have specific funding for forestry research or perform a host of applied studies on ecologic and social issues. Federal agencies—such as the DOI Bureau of Land Management, U.S.Geological Survey Division of Biological Sciences (formerly Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service research), and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service—perform a wealth of research related to forest flora and fauna. The total amount of their research that is directly related to forestry is not known, but is substantial. In addition, a host of international organizations, ranging from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank to organizations in other countries, sponsor research related to world forests that provides considerable funding to U.S. and international scientists. In total, those other organizations probably add $10 to 50 million to the more-precise forestry-research funding totals estimated above.

Forestry research could be defined even more broadly—as anything related to the ecology or people associated with the one-third of the nation's total land base classified as forest, or even the world's forest resources. Given a broader definition, the amount of forestry research in the country is indeed very large. However, given that definition, there are many overlaps with other disciplines; it thus provides a blunt tool for assessing the status and deficiencies in our forestry-research capacity. So a narrow enough definition of forestry research is used in our study to estimate trends in investments and accomplishments.

EVALUATING RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN FORESTRY RESEARCH

Investment in forestry research has resulted in diverse benefits, such as lower-cost wood products for consumers, increased income for rural people through improved management and marketing of wood from small woodlots, expanded employment opportunities, improved water quality and flows, maintenance of ecologic integrity and diversity, and enhanced recreation experiences through new recreation-management techniques. Research has led to increased quality and efficiency in the use of all forest resources.

Various studies have examined the returns on investments in forestry research. Bengston (1999) summarized many of the studies that occurred as part of a focused effort in the 1980s; Hyde et al. (1992) published The Economic Benefits of Forestry Research; and a few other studies have also been published. Table 3–11 summarizes the results of the studies.

The evaluations indicate that forestry research has consistently had handsome economic rates of return for improvements in individual forest management practice and for wood products research. The average rates of return for wood products research had the greatest returns, ranging from about 15 to 40 percent per year for most conventional

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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research applications. Softwood plywood research had very large returns on research investments, as did wood preservation research, but such breakthroughs are uncommon. The large benefits of forest products research are attributable mostly to the fact that gains are achieved and implemented quickly, and application to a large volume of end products increases net gain. These gains accrue more to wood products producers (large firms) and consumers than to forest landowners or others for whom public research expenditures may be more easily justified.

Timber-management research evaluations also generally found excellent economic rates of return or benefit:cost ratios. Economic rates of return for individual programs such as forest pest management, containerized seedlings, and forest nutrition ranged from 9 percent to more than 100 percent. Benefit:cost ratios ranged from 2.3:1 to 34:1 for fusiform rust research, growth and yield modeling, herbaceous weed control, and tree improvement programs. The one notable exception in these findings was low rates of return (0–7 percent) found for aggregate southern softwood forestry research (Hyde et al., 1992). Hyde et al. (1992) compared aggregate productivity gains for the entire southern forestry sector with aggregate southern forestry research investments. Such aggregate econometric comparisons might provide less robust means of identifying and estimating technical change than individual analyses of production economics and marginal rates of return. Compared with agriculture, aggregate changes in making slight growth improvements in all southern pine production would be expected to be much lower than the spectacular gains or returns one would expect to receive based domesticating wild cereal crops.

Most forestry-research evaluations demonstrate that past gains have been substantial. The fusiform rust research evaluation also estimated the possible incremental gains that could be achieved if fusiform rust were eliminated as a major southern pest. The advent of integrated biotechnology and forest-pathology research makes such a previously unlikely goal possible. Eliminating fusiform rust as a major disease of southern pines could quadruple the calculated benefits of the current tree breeding strategies (Cubbage et al., 2000). Rapid advances in integrated biotechnology, tree breeding, forest nutrition, herbicides, and silviculture have clearly yielded substantial marginal rates of economic return on financial investments (i.e., Yin et al., 1998; Siry et al., 2001) and research investments, although no formal research-evaluation studies have been published.

Forestry research evaluations to date have measured the gains from research that have increased the efficiency of wood utilization and timber management, but they have not captured the gains from productivity sustaining (maintenance) research. An estimated 43 percent of Forest Service research—and probably an equal portion of other forestry research—is aimed at maintaining the existing productivity level, which would decline in the absence of research to deal with disease, pests, and other factors that adversely affect forest productivity (O'Laughlin et al., 1986).

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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Table 3–11. Return on Investment in Forestry Research.

Measures of Economic Impact

Research Evaluated

Marg. ERR a%

Avg. ERR b%

B/C Ratio c

Wood product research

Structural particleboard (Bengston, 1984)

27–35

19–22

Lumber and wood products (Bengston, 1985)

34–40

Timber utilization (Haygreen, et al., 1986)

14–36

Wood preservation (Brunner & Strauss, 1987)

15:1

 

Softwood plywood (Seldon & Newman, 1987)

236

   

Timber management research

Forest pest management (Araji, 1981)

60–86

Tree improvement (Levenson, 1984)

34:1

 

Forest nutrition (Bare & Loveless, 1985)

9–12

 

Growth and yield model (Chang, 1985)

16:1

 

Containerized seedlings (Westgate, 1986)

37–111

 

Herbaceous weed control (Huang & Teeter, 1990)

17–21:1

 

Timber harvesting (Cubbage et al., 1988)

17

Southern softwood forestry (Hyde et al., 1992)

0–7

 

Fusiform rust (Pye et al.,1997; Cubbage et al., 2000)

2–20:1

 

aMarginal economic rate of return: ERR on additional funds invested.

bAverage economic rate of return: ERR on total investments; ranges reflect different sets of assumptions.

cBenefit:cost ratio, when benefits and costs are discounted back to a common time; ranges reflect different sets of assumptions.

Productivity research is only a portion of public, and perhaps of private, research. Past evaluations of forestry research have not captured the value of economic benefits derived outside the marketplace, such as those related to environmental protection and improvement, and to amenity and recreation values. The prospects for large economic returns to forestry research on nonmarket goods and services also are significant. Research on the nonmarket benefits of the monitoring of wildlife, biodiversity, forest health, and even inventory and analysis also should enhance our management, conservation, and quality of life significantly. One study indicates that the economic benefits of wildland recreation research can be substantial and that society has under-invested in recreation research (Bengston and Xu, 1993). Thus, the rates of return shown in Table 3–11 likely represent conservative estimates of the payoff of public forestry research.

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Several themes transcend this overview of research capacity. Investment in U.S. forestry research is substantial and more stable in total than commonly believed. But it is fragmented among organizations. Direct USDA Forest Service forestry research personnel and support have declined, and other agencies are increasing their focus on issues related to forestry. Therefore, better information is needed to monitor the status of the inputs to forestry research. Although the Forest Service maintains pertinent information related to much of its research, comprehensive information on forestry research in the United States is lacking.

In 1997, the National Science and Technology Council recommended a framework for integrating the nation's environmental monitoring and research networks and programs, noting that new developments in science and technology provide new opportunities for collecting and organizing data. (National Science and Technology Council, 1997). With current fiscal limitations facing all levels of government, cooperation and efficiency among agencies is essential to the long-term success of individual programs. Following on the need for an integrated environmental and monitoring network, an integrated forestry-research information system is needed for tracking forestry research activities. The initial challenge will be to build on, enhance, and integrate existing databases.

Recommendation 3–1

The Forest Service should enhance its current research-information system and tracking efforts by establishing an improved and integrated interagency system that includes relevant information on forestry research activities, workforce, funding, and accomplishments in all agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other relevant federal agencies, and associated organizations as appropriate.

Implementation of an enhanced system would require integrating information on forestry research from the Forest Service, agencies in USDA, NSF, DOE, EPA, DOI, and NASA. The system would provide a stronger foundation on which to base decisions for the future. Developing better information on the status of forestry research will require settling on the type of data that should be included in such a system; determining funding and staffing levels of federal, state, university, and nongovernment organizations performing forestry research; noting research priorities; and tracking quantitative and qualitative research accomplishments.

Personnel

Based on the Forest Service survey (2002), 2,186 scientist FTEs were employed at universities, in the Forest Service, or with forest industry in 2001. An estimated total of 1,346 FTEs were dedicated to research, with about 43% at universities, 49% at the Forest Service, and 8% with the private forest industry. About 600 forest scientist FTEs were dedicated to teaching, and 62 to extension. Scientists employed by other federal

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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and state organizations and nongovernment organizations would add perhaps another 50 to 100 to that total.

Whether we have an adequate number of scientists in the requisite disciplines for the future, however, is debatable. Forest Service data support the belief that there have been rapid declines in the numbers of scientists in traditional research areas, such as silviculture, entomology, disease, and forest products. Most other disciplines in the Forest Service experienced declines in the number of scientists employed over the last 15 years. Ecologists have increased in number, but attrition clearly has reduced Forest Service research capacity. Forest Service timber management research probably has declined, but this has been offset by large increases in broad forest management research. Despite perceptions by traditional stakeholders, Forest Service data on funding indicate that environmental research appears to have declined. On the other hand, based on the SFM data tallies by FTE, Forest Service environmental research in biodiversity and ecosystem health research now combines to constitute their largest research area. University research has a broader focus with more emphasis on social science and institutional frameworks. Private industry focuses mostly on productive capacity and soil and water research. Data on disciplines of academic researchers and teachers are not readily available, but experience suggests that academia is unlikely to cover all the shortfalls evidenced by declines in most Forest Service scientific research disciplines.

Recommendation 3–2

The Forest Service should substantially strengthen its research workforce over the next five years to address current and impending shortfalls, specifically recruiting and retaining researchers trained in the disciplines identified as foundation and critical emerging fields of forestry science.

Addressing the rapid decline in scientific manpower will strengthen the Forest Service's ability to respond to short- and long-term research needs. Employing additional full-time permanent researchers, rather than supplementing with temporary employees and post-doctoral students, in fields that are required to address traditional and emerging issues will improve Forest Service continuity and effectiveness in research efforts. Although post-docs and temporary employees are appropriate for some jobs— and do have a place—in many ways they cannot be compared to full-time employees. It is imperative that the Forest Service address the current deficiencies as soon as possible, because the situation is likely to become worse. In the past 8 years alone, the Forest Service has lost over 9000 total employees and during the past 15 years has lost approximately 45% of its scientists. Currently 35% of its workforce is eligible to retire in the next five years and the average age of employees is 55 years, with only five employees under the age of 25 years (personal communication, Mark Rey, USDA). The U.S. Department of Labor substantiates that the number of available workers is decreasing, the average age of the workforce is increasing, the pool of young workers is shrinking, and the number of less educated people in the workforce is increasing (U.S. Department of Labor, 2000). Although employment conditions differ greatly by field and subfield of science (National Research Council 1998), the demand for employees in

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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science and technology in many areas that support important federal missions has outstripped supply (National Science and Technology Council, 2000). The cost associated with strengthening and retaining the Forest Service research workforce is nominal compared with the costs associated with operating under current and projected deficiencies.

Recommendation 3–3

As part of the increase in research personnel capacity and resources, the Forest Service should enhance cooperative relations with forestry schools and colleges.

Partnerships that have evolved between the Federal government and the nation's universities have proven exceptionally productive, successfully promoting discovery of knowledge, stimulating technologic innovations, improving quality of life, educating and training the next generation of scientists and engineers, and contributing to America's prosperity (National Science and Technology Council, 1999). Cooperative research allocations by the Forest Service have decreased markedly from about 15 percent to 9 percent of its budget from 1990 to 1997. The Forest Service should consider designating a larger percentage of its total research budget to the station or research work unit level for extramural research grants that are inter-organizational and cooperative, requiring active involvement, cooperation, and integration of Forest Service, university, and other research partners. The integration of research and education is the hallmark and strength of our research and education system. Two important rationales exist for federal investment in university-based research and these are: (1) the benefits derived from training a new generation of scientists and (2) continuous mutual enrichment that is derived from the relationship (National Science and Technology Council, 1999; National Science Foundation, 1998). The agency could strengthen its relationship with partners if a larger and more openly competitive cooperative grants program existed.

Research Quality, Productivity, and Efficacy

Measuring research quality, productivity, and effectiveness of transferring research to users is difficult. Better oversight and program reviews would help to ensure that organizations are pursuing appropriate strategic directions and implementing them with sound operational programs. The forestry research sector consists of a broad group of public and private organizations. A central organizing body is needed to monitor forestry research and facilitate cooperation among the various organizations. Creation of new federal or state organizations is not necessary, but better oversight and direction from advisory bodies are needed.

Recommendation 3–4

The USDA Forest Research Advisory Committee should focus its efforts in two primary areas: (1) working with USDA research leaders in the Forest Service and other agencies to set research priorities and monitor accomplishments, and (2) coordinating

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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with USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and other agencies to help guide research priorities of McIntire-Stennis, Renewable Resources Extension Act, National Research Initiative, and other grant programs.

Those involved in providing focus should include professionals in government agencies, universities, and other relevant organizations as members or ex-officio members. A full-time dedicated professional USDA senior-level director would facilitate operations, serve as communication liaison, monitor forestry research accomplishments, and coordinate site reviews and visits. Those involved would also monitor forestry-research quality and accountability by renewing and expanding the periodic review process, including reviews of McIntire-Stennis projects and Forest Service agency and cooperative agreement research accomplishments. Reasonable intervals for site visits are 10 years for McIntire-Stennis institutions and 5 years for Forest Service research stations.

Advisory groups would help to ensure that research agencies and other organizations are pursuing appropriate strategic directions and implementing them with sound operational programs. Implementing or renewing forestry-research oversight reviews would correspond with the mandates for performance evaluation under the GPRA. Reviews might not necessarily entail additional report preparation, but perhaps more site visits, discussion of research priorities and progress, adaptive management or research programs.

Recommendation 3–5

Universities and state institutions should increase the use of competitive mechanisms for allocating McIntire-Stennis and Renewable Resources Extension Act funds within these institutions, and in doing so, encourage team approaches to solving forestry and natural resource problems as well as integrated research and extension proposals or interinstitutional cooperation.

With goals consistent to the respective Congressional Acts, many universities allocate McIntire-Stennis, Hatch, and Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) funding via a merit-based competitive process (for example, see Boxes 3–1 and 3–2). Scientific excellence is promoted when investments are guided by merit review that rewards quality and productivity in research and accommodates for endeavors that might be high-risk but have potential for high gain (National Science and Technology Council, 1999, 2001; National Research Council, 2000).

Clearly, formula-fund allocations are critical for diffusing research throughout the nation, for pursuit of long-term research goals and multidisciplinary research, and for supporting a system in which university faculty appointments are split among some combination of research, extension and teaching. There is a need to preserve the advantages offered by formula funding (University of Idaho, 1983), particularly their facilitation of linked research, extension, and teaching programs (National Research Council, 1996). However, if more competitive approaches were used by universities and state institutions for allocation of formula-based McIntire-Stennis funds, the opportunities for improving the quality and accountability of research funded will be greater. A

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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stronger commitment to addressing the quality and accountability of formula-based research might also provide greater support for funding the critical McIntire-Stennis program at a level closer to that at which it was authorized. The current funding level of McIntire-Stennis is only approximately $21 million, which is less than half its authorized level.

Institutions, or consortia, should concentrate research capital in specific (and perhaps limited) fields of forestry research where they operate best or have some recognized institutional advantage. One of the ways to increase quality and cooperation is to bring federal, state, and private-sector scientists into the academic fabric where needed to augment the expertise of university faculty in preparing future scientists. Collaboration of nonuniversity scientists in the academic fabric could expand the “critical mass” of scientists and educators preparing future scientists.

In addition research oversight and mechanisms, technology transfer should be improved. We have made great strides in many fields of basic and applied research, but resources directed to extension and cooperative efforts have steadily declined. A stronger delivery system must be developed.

Recommendation 3–6

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, together with universities, should develop means to more effectively communicate existing and new knowledge to users, managers, and planners in forestry.

If we are to achieve broadly recognized forestry research and development goals, our technology transfer and extension capability should be enhanced. Almost 10 million nonindustrial private landowners rely on extension, communication, and transfer of research results to make informed decisions (National Research Council, 1998). Universities, government, and private organizations should work together to improve mechanisms for communicating research and technology.

Fiscal Strength

At least $400 million is spent on forestry research each year by the various research organizations in the United States, and the total might well exceed $500 million. Funding includes about $200 million for Forest Service research and $204 million for research in professional forestry schools, colleges, and departments. NAPFSC data indicate that forestry schools received about $23 million of their external research funds from non-Forest Service grants and $12 million from Forest Service cooperative agreements in 1998. The USDA has provided other funding through NRI and IFAFS, in the amount of approximately $10 million per year. Including the data reported in the SFI and NCASI research, the forest industry spends at least $70 million per year in forestry research and probably far more on wood and paper research. State agencies spend a few million dollars per year in total on applied forestry research. Federal agencies other than the Forest Service were unable to provide definitive estimates of their funding of forestry research, but DOE, EPA, NASA, DOI, and NSF spend at least $10 million per year on

Suggested Citation:"3. Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States." National Research Council. 2002. National Capacity in Forestry Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10384.
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research specifically related to forests. Total forest research expenditures in the United States were about $530 million in 1998.

Trends in university and nonfederal forestry research are difficult to assess. Non-Forest Service federal, state, and nongovernmental organization forestry research has increased in recent years despite fairly static funding in Forest Service research funds. Forest industry research also appears to have increased in the last 5 years, although it is concentrated in a few firms.

Toward Greater Capacity

The overview presented here suggests that financial and human investments in forestry research, construed narrowly, are substantial and that return on investment is high. Forestry research may be defined more broadly to include much of natural resources research. In either case, the nation has moderate capacity to discover new knowledge about forest resources. However, the nation's forestry-research capacity and investment in research, particularly in Forest Service research, have declined sharply in the last decade. Many scientific disciplines appear to have dwindling numbers of research scientists and dwindling expertise despite rapid increases in pressing problems regarding the productivity, health, management, and protection of our nation's forests. Those trends are important and must be addressed without delay, given the rapidly increasing number of challenges and issues facing forests and forestry research.

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Next: 4. Preparing Forestry Scientists and Users of Forestry Science »
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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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