productivity 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.