funding to support personnel and infrastructure, and collaboration to ensure that scarce research funds are used wisely.
Direct grants programs are another means of advancing forestry research. Grants provide a means to set specific scientific objectives and then seek proposals and projects to accomplish the objectives. That allows a large amount of scientific creativity, although it tends to be somewhat weak in monitoring and modifications or in accomplishing planned results. Traditional requests for proposals (RFPs) have focused on single institutions or even single-investigator research. There already has been a substantial movement to broaden this base, and it needs to continue.
Broad, long-range programs, such as NSF's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, provide another means to achieve integrated research projects at a single location but with cooperation among many organizations. They ensure that many partners participate in the research, and they focus research on questions of broad interest more than do individual projects developed across the landscape.
Clear federal research facility mandates—such as long-term ecological research sites, experimental forest and natural resource areas, and watershed monitoring facilities—should receive priority for retention and enhancement, and a system of periodic review of all facilities should be implemented and maintained.
The LTER Network exemplifies one mechanism for enabling valuable research and creating needed capacity, ideas endorsed throughout this report. The LTER network has been successful in: collecting scientific data on ecological phenomena over long temporal and large spatial scales, creating a legacy for such research, facilitating collaborating among researchers from diverse geographic locations, conducting major synthetic projects, and in providing easily accessible data for researchers. These research sites would benefit from periodic external review to ensure that they achieve their original objectives and investigate appropriate new subjects.