The forest industry's contribution to the domestic gross national product and the number of people employed directly and indirectly by forestry are large, and forestry research efforts and support should be large to maintain them. When the National Forest system. Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service are considered, an even stronger case is made for the importance of forestry research to our nation. Given the high cost of modern research in biotechnology, genomics, and ecosystems, the need for adequate support of forestry research is even greater.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of this report provide recommendations for addressing deficiencies in scientific and fiscal resources needed to secure our nation's future forestry-research capacity. The recommendations encompass university, government, and industry. Implementing some of the recommendations might require new federal funding, which is often difficult to obtain. The search for new funding will continue, but lasting change might occur best through reshaping and development of important new models and systems to generate the dollars for research. Federal, state, and local law and regulatory changes could be made to encourage investment in forest research.
Models such as cooperative university, industry, and federal research appear to be functioning well and should be considered ( Box 5–1). For any such models to function three things conditions are necessary: stakeholders must agree that there is a need, there must be an equitable system to secure the required funds; and there must be a defined process to set priorities and allocate the funds.
Box 5–1 Northwest Stand Management Cooperative(SMC)
The mission of the Northwest Stand Management Cooperative (SMC) is to provide a continuing source of high quality information on the long-term effects of silvicultural treatments on stand and tree growth and development and on wood and product quality. The SMC is composed of 19 forest industry members; six state, provincial, and federal agencies; three suppliers; and four universities. The Policy Committee, composed of dues-paying members, controls policy and establishes goals with the aid of the Technical Advisory Committee in silviculture, nutrition, wood quality, and modeling.
The SMC annual budget over the last five years has ranged from $0.9 to $1.1 million; 60 percent comes from member dues, 20 percent from grants and contracts, and 20 percent from institutional members in the form of salaries, facilities, and administrative support. The SMC database represents 435 installations containing 4427 plots, with data on a quarter-million trees in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. SMC is headquartered at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, which provides administration and staffing.