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.
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.