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Page 14 1 Need, Context, and Foundation for Forestry Research Since the National Research Council published its last assessment of forestry-research needs in 1990, forestry research has continued to contribute to the lives of millions in public and private sectors throughout the world (National Research Council, 1990). Forestry research has continued to enhance the health and productivity of forest resources that people have depended on and will depend on for centuries. In this report, the Committee on National Capacity in Forestry Research presents a review of the current expertise and status of forestry research and examines the approaches of natural resource education and forestry-research organizations to meet future needs. The committee was charged with assessing 1) the knowledge base necessary for forestry experts and other professionals to address research and management issues successfully in a complex social, political, and technical environment; 2) the capacity of research organizations that employ those professionals to perform research that will yield a basis for scientific management and protection of the nation's forest resources; 3) the basic curriculum elements and level of instruction necessary to develop a core competence in the relevant knowledge base to produce suitably trained, socially aware, and technically proficient researchers and managers; 4) the means by which focused education and interdisciplinary systems thinking and communication skills can be developed and applied to forest and landscape problems; and
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Page 15 5) the adequacy and capacity of available university programs to meet the needs of the near future. A primary source of input for this study was a workshop that took place on July 15– 16, 1999, at the National Academies building in Washington, D.C. In addition to the workshop and associated public comments and letters, the committee communicated with professionals in relevant forestry research and education organizations and consulted numerous other sources, including recent surveys and studies of trends in forestry education, to obtain relevant information for analysis. THE CURRENT STUDY This first chapter of the report describes the focus and boundaries of the committee's assessment, defines forestry research capacity, describes the institutional framework for forestry research, reviews the historic roots of forestry in the United States, addresses the continuing need for forestry research, and highlights future challenges involving forestry issues. Chapter 2 addresses the first charge of the committee and describes the essential knowledge base required by professionals who must address future needs, including education and research perspectives and priorities. Those priorities are classified into two broad areas of scientific need: foundation needs and emerging needs. Chapter 3 addresses the second charge of the committee and provides an overview of the current status of forestry-research capacity in terms of the resources that make up capacity: manpower, infrastructure, and financial investment. Chapter 4 addresses the third charge of the committee and looks at the status of forestry education, examines educational paradigms for graduate forestry education to produce the next generation of forestry researchers, and offers recommendations for enhancing the current status. Chapter 5 addresses the fifth charge of the committee synthesizes the material from the preceding chapters, assesses the status of our national research and education capacity with respect to priorities, and discusses various principles and approaches for meeting forestry-research needs. The fourth charge, which transcends several aspects of the overall assessment is addressed in Chapters 3 through 5. In this report, the status of forestry-research capacity was assessed to determine whether desired social goals for the future could be reached. Research and monitoring provide the foundations required to improve management and protection and to achieve sustainable forest management. Heretofore, there has been a lack of adequate information on the magnitude of funds, personnel, and infrastructure that support forestry-research efforts. There has also been a lack of information on how current efforts were directed among disciplines; the magnitude of research capacity among federal, state, nongovernment, and private organizations; the breadth of forestry and forest-resources research and development; or the priorities for forestry research. Those issues are addressed in this report to the extent that data and resources allow.
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Page 16 Boundaries of the Assessment There are major challenges associated with compiling a comprehensive information base needed to assess forestry research capacity. These challenges exist because information on forestry research and resources does not exist in a single place. Data reported—for example, on employment trends of forestry and natural resource researchers, are often reported for a certain sector and the methods or surveys used to collect and summarize the data across sectors often vary, making some comparisons impossible. Based on the limited amount of reliable information and the variation in data that were available to the committee for review and analysis, limits of the study had to be determined with regard to the current assessment of forestry research capacity. In assessing the essential knowledge base for forestry issues, the boundaries were set as wide as possible and encompassed information received from public and private sources, universities with forestry and natural resource graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as industry, government and NGOs with forestry programs. In assessing the capacity of research organizations to perform research, the boundaries were necessarily more narrow because information was more difficult to obtain. The review focused on the major forestry research agency of the federal government (the Forest Service) and other agencies in government for which there were data available on forestry research. The committee's assessment is focused on federal research that is uniquely federal and appropriately federal (see definitions provided in Chapter 5). Research performed in the forest industry and in academe was considered broadly, and focused on trends and apparent limitations. In assessing curriculum elements, means for focused education and interdisciplinary systems, and adequacy of university programs to meet needs, the committee drew from the most comprehensive data sets available, including Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS) data and input from public and private institutions was gathered. DEFINING FORESTRY-RESEARCH CAPACITY To provide a perspective for this study, modern definitions of forestry and research capacity were used to guide the assessment. The Society of American Forester's (SAF) Dictionary of Forestry (Helms, 1998) defines forestry as: “The profession embracing the science, art, and practice of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources for human benefit and in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values—note the broad field of forestry consists of those biologic, quantitative, managerial, and social sciences that are applied to forest management and conservation; it includes specialized fields such as agroforestry, urban forestry, industrial forestry, nonindustrial forestry, and wilderness and recreation forestry.” (P. 72)
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Page 17 Bengston and Gregersen (1988) provide a simple definition of research capacity: “…as an institution's ability to develop and disseminate new technology.” In this report, forestry research is considered broadly. The classical forestry disciplines of biologic sciences, measurements, management, policy, and administration should clearly fall within the definition of forestry-research capacity. It would include forest insects and diseases, forest health, agroforestry, community forestry, spatial information, and a host of other disciplines applied to forestry. The published definitions were integrated in order to characterize forestry-research capacity for the committee's evaluation and assessment: Forestry is the science, art, and practice of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner, engaging broad and specialized scientific disciplines to meet desired goals, needs, and values. Research capacity is the magnitude of the ability to develop, advance, and disseminate science and technology. Because of the difficulty in obtaining historical data on forestry that transcend disciplines, the report focuses more on traditional tree and timber aspects of forestry and often does not address in detail the areas of fisheries, wildlife, water (quality and quantity), outdoor recreation, non-timber products, cultural resources, aesthetics, and forest social sciences in as great detail. However, these areas are recognized as important aspects of forestry and definitions of forestry have been broadening to include them; this concept is addressed in later chapters. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR FORESTRY-RELATED RESEARCH The institutional structure of forestry research in the United States consists of a number of different entities and this framework continues to broaden. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has been the major contributor to the nation's forestry-research portfolio, but many other federal departments and agencies are increasing support for research related to forests. These include 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). An example of the contribution that these organizations make to forestry research is the NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network that has conducted forestry research for more than 20 years. The nation's professional forestry schools, and more recently natural resources colleges, perform a large amount of the forestry research. Their faculties include people in forest sciences, such as biology, measurements, management, and policy, and those in
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Page 18emerging or related disciplines, such as ecology, environmental assessment, sociology, spatial information, and biotechnology. As a growing number of traditional forestry schools evolve into broader natural resources and environmental sciences schools, the research emphasis in them also shifts. Forestry and natural-resources extension programs provide direct support for disseminating research findings to research users. Finally, forestry industry has more than one hundred scientific research personnel and also contributes to the country's capacity to conduct forest research. Different research organizations and structures have different merits in generating knowledge. Forestry or any other research can be viewed as a continuum from a minimally controlled management system to a mission-oriented and tightly controlled approach (Roussopolous, 1999). Loosely controlled research organizations and approaches provide funds and a general charter to creative scientists, but little oversight and supervision. Louis Pasteur and classical scientific approaches might typify that approach. Such freedom and autonomy allow maximize creativity but guarantee neither success nor efficiency. Tightly controlled projects, such as the Manhattan Project, ensure that maximum effort and knowledge are brought to bear on solving a relatively well-defined problem. Such an approach is efficient but tends to restrict serendipitous discovery and pursuit of ancillary questions and findings. The continuum posited by Roussopolous can be used to evaluate various forms of forestry-research organizations. Traditional mission-oriented research organizations, such as the USDA Forest Service, are most likely to achieve applied-research objectives where direction can be provided from within the agency and received from external research clients. Universities provide an environment where scientists maybe more creative in selecting and performing research that can be funded. Forest industry has a directed research focus, which usually centers on topics that will improve the bottom line, including environmental topics related to ensuring sustainability and protection of asset values. Non-government organizations (NGOs) perform research that is moderately directed, whether toward management or specific concerns, such as environmental protection. EARLY FORESTRY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION Forestry research in the federal government of the United States has its roots in the early 1800s. In 1828, President John Quincy Adams germinated acorns in tubs around the White House with the notion that this method of cultivation of trees for timber could work in the field. Adams' live oak experiments were not carried to completion, but his efforts were among the first to stimulate interest in research on forests. Some 45 years later in, in 1873 Franklin B.Hough, a physician who would lead the U.S. government's first formal forestry-research efforts for almost a decade, made a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on the responsibilities of government in forestry research. In response to Hough's statements, AAAS petitioned Congress on the critical need to collect, compile, and distribute information on forest science and forested lands. Several years later, the first appropriations were made to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for forestry
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Page 19research. In the same era, the first educational program in forestry was established in 1898 at Cornell University by a German forester, Bernard E.Fernow, who served as chief of the Division of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture for 12 years. Although short-lived, the program set the stage for several aspects of forestry education and research that remain today, including standardized curricula and a formal method of communicating research results. THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING, PROTECTING, AND ENHANCING TODAY'S FORESTS FOR TOMORROW In 1864, the cumulative impact of human actions on forests was summarized and applied to Europe and early America (Marsh, 1864). The scientific problem identified was that the nations of the world were expanding rapidly without apparent concern about effects on the land and its resources (Marsh, 1864). The problem persists today. Rapidly increasing world population and continuously decreasing forest area leave us with an enduring resource-management problem of getting greater benefits from less land. As population and per capita disposable income and consumption increase (World Resources Institute et al., 1998), demands for forest products increase. U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 1999) data indicate that 56 million hectares of forest was lost during the period from 1990 to 1995. That area—roughly equal to the total forest area of Western Europe—represents 1.6 percent of the world's forest area. The unprecedented increase in commodity and amenity demands from fewer forests creates significant pressure on the sustainability of the world's forest commodities and environmental benefits, and the concomitant community well-being. Forests make up about 300 million hectares (747 million acres), or about 33 percent of the total land cover of 916 million hectares (2,263 million acres) in the United States (Smith et al., 2001). Estimates of the forest cover of the world vary. Williams (1994) summarized many studies of world forest area, noting that recent estimates had ranged from about 3.7 to 4.6 billion hectares. FAO (2001) estimated that forests cover 3.9 billion hectares, or about 26 percent of the earth's total land area of 13 billion ha. Even current estimates of world and forest area depend on the definition of forests and the methods used to estimate the areas. For example, FAO (2001) indicates that the United States has only 226 million hectares of forest land, rather than the Smith et al. (2001) estimate of 300 million. The difference lies mostly in whether forests are defined as including only closed forests (FAO, 1999) or more-open forests with partial tree cover (Powell et al., 1993). Estimates of trends in forest area are probably less accurate. But most studies indicate that the forests of the world are being reduced in extent, at low to moderate rates. To further complicate issues, there has been a broadening of the definition of forestry. This greatly increases the scope of research that is needed to improve forest management. As world forest area declines, world population continues to increase. The U.S. population in 1998 was about 274 million people, and demographers estimated that world population exceeded 6 billion in 1999. U.S. and world populations are projected to increase to 332 million and 8.0 billion people, respectively, by 2025 (World Resources Institute et al., 1998). World population increases have consistently slowed, but population has by no
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Page 20means stabilized except in some developed countries. The preceding statistics frame the scenario for forests and all other natural resources on the earth. The total area of the earth covered by forests is declining while the number of people demanding products, goods, and services (see Table 1) from forests is increasing, as is their per capita consumption of commodities and amenities. Developed countries use more forest products for housing, printing and writing, packaging, personal products, and business. Similarly, the aging and more affluent and mobile populations, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, place more demands for recreation and environmental benefits on forests throughout the world. Thus, forests throughout the United States and the world are under increasing pressure to provide sustained and, in fact, increased outputs. Increased demands from forests include those for wood products, high-quality water, and intensive and passive recreation. Forests also provide sites for urban expansion and recreational homes, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, carbon storage and oxygen production, and a variety of indirect benefits. Natural forests have diverse flora and fauna and provide scenic beauty, carbon storage and oxygen production, forest products, and other benefits. Planted forests and trees provide industrial roundwood, fuel for homes, and urban amenities. Forest reserves protect natural values, biodiversity, and ecologic integrity (see Table 1–1). However, forests—even reserves—are threatened by encroachment of humans and normative flora and fauna. Ecologic restoration and management might make it possible to maintain or restore natural conditions. Table 1–1 . Definitions of Terms Commonly Used to Describe What Forests Provide. Term Definition Example Products Things, substances, articles produced by a process; output of goods and services resulting from the input of resources or factors of production used to produce them. Paper products Goods Things, articles, objects worth attaining; movable properties; merchandise; wares; services of valve. An economic good is defined as any physical object, natural or man-made, or service rendered, which could command a price in a market. Timber Services Provision of assistance; act of serving; work done to meet some needs; intangible, non-transferable economic goods, as distinct from physical commodities. Clean air, clean water Values Enjoying the forest for the forest Personal appreciation, importance placed on the forest Benefits Advantage; favorable effect; output; profit. Includes products and favorable influences. Income Output Similar to products but is often compared to inputs. Production measure Source: Adapted from http://www.fao.org/docrep/V7540e/V7540e28.htm
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Page 21 FUTURE CHALLENGES The increasing demands for forest goods and services show the importance of the role of forestry education and research to support sustainable management and conservation. The “Brundtland report” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This principle has been widely applied to efforts to use and protect the world's forests. How are we to reach the laudable, but difficult, goal of sustainable development? What are the precepts of sustainability? Can we not only sustain our resources, but improve their condition? Elements of philosophy, management, education, research, and practice are all involved in achieving sustainable forest management. The world must strive to realize the three tenets of sustainable development: economic development, environmental protection, and community welfare. The public is demanding better environmental performance from private firms and from public managers, as well as high product quality at reasonable costs. Forest-management objectives vary among ownerships, but all are seeking stewardship, sustainable forest management, and cost minimization, if not economic profitability. Private and public managers in the future must merge economic and environmental goals in producing goods and services and in reducing resource consumption and pollution per unit of output (World Resources Institute et al., 1998). Forest-management intensity will differ among landowner classes as well, ranging from intensive to extensive management practices and commodity production to natural-forest protection. Research in and implementation of methods to improve forest use also offer means to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Manufacturing and leisure uses of resources should not degrade their quality and businesses should reduce the use of material and energy and the production of waste. Research programs must move towards discoveries of highly productive and environmentally benign processes, and professionals of the future must receive the best science education and technology transfer to benefit people throughout the United States and the world. FORESTRY EDUCATION AND RESEARCH At its core, achieving sustainable forest management will require greatly increasing our research capacity. Increasing capacity begins with preparing the forestry professionals of the future with a solid educational foundation to assess the status of our forests, finding means to enhance their values for commodity and noncommodity outputs, and implementing improved management or protection of the relevant forest areas. Monitoring, research, and application of new technology must be the bases for sustaining, enhancing, and restoring forests and their innumerable values. In achieving sustainability, many people call for expanding the traditional forestry view of “sustainable yield” practices to a concept of “sustaining ecosystems” (Noble and Dirzon, 1997). Better monitoring, research, and application are paramount in enhancing forest
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Page 22productivity and protection and they constitute the challenge: How do we enhance education and research efforts and applications—from basic to applied research and from simple to elegant technology transfer—and improve forest protection and management? How do we measure and monitor progress? Is our capacity in forestry education and research up to the task? In fact, is our capacity in forestry education and research even maintaining historical levels, let alone providing the ability to increase our knowledge about forests? Those questions are integral to this study by the National Research Council. As the request for such a study suggests, the nation's research capacity in forestry—even to maintain existing programs and knowledge—is in question. Whether we have adequate forestry-research capacity to increase productivity or protection is moot. The implied fears might be unfounded. For decades, the National Research Council has shed light on these difficult topics pertaining to forestry research (National Research Council, 1926, 1927a,b, 1928, 1947, 1990). However, there has not been a comprehensive assessment of U.S. forestry-research capacity since Mandate for Change was released more than 10 years ago (National Research Council, 1990). Trends in forestry education have recently been assessed (Pinchot Institute for Conservation, 2000), but the integrated impacts of education and research on the nation's capacity in forestry research have not been followed closely or appraised lately. A fresh look is warranted, inasmuch as traditional forestry education and research entities continue to be called on to meet vast challenges and many organizations not traditionally considered to be dedicated to forestry education and research now contribute largely to such activities.
Representative terms from entire chapter: