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environment, including other public and private research and educational institutions that supply forestry-research capacity.

A major source of input for this study was a workshop that took place on July 15– 16, 1999, at the National Academies 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.


Assessing national capacity in forestry research requires definitions of the general scientific concepts of forestry and of the notion of research capacity. An understanding of return on investment in forestry research is also needed.

For purposes of this study, a modified definition of forestry is adopted from definitions published by several sources.

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.

A comprehensive definition of research capacity is difficult to capture because it has no fixed boundaries. Capacity encompasses human resources, institutions, infrastructure, and financial support.

Research capacity is the magnitude of the ability to develop, advance, and disseminate science and technology.


The estimated return on investment in wood-product and timber-management research has been reported to be as high as 40 to 86 percent per year. Forest products and use research conducted by the 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, greatly extending forest resources. Research on recycling of wood-based products has increased paper-recovery rates from 25 percent to 45 percent of fiber. 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. Other research advances include the development of composite products and improvement in housing constructions. Similarly, research conducted by universities, industry, and government on forest health, genetics, management (intensive, extensive,

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