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Page 42 3 Current Forestry-Research Capacity in the United States The nation's ability to provide adequate goods and services from forests, or even to maintain current area of forests, in the face of increasing population and consumption, is at risk. Improved protection of existing forests, afforestation of non-forested areas, reforestation after timber harvests, restoration of degraded forests, and increased productivity of new and existing forests—for commodities and noncommodity purposes—are required if demands for forests and for forest sustainability are to be balanced on the stand, landscape, or global scale. Research and monitoring underlie sustainable forest management and protection. Scientific research is key to being able to identify how to improve forest conditions, allow compatible human uses, and sustain productivity for market and nonmarket goods and services. Research on forest products and use conducted by the USDA 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 (Lewis, 2000). Research on recycling of wood-based products has increased paper-recovery rates from 25 percent to 45 percent of fiber (Lewis, 2000). 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 (Lewis, 2000). Other research advances include the development of composite products and improvement in housing constructions. Monitoring provides the means to measure whether forest conditions—from area extent to timber productivity to biodiversity to ecologic integrity—are being degraded, sustained, or enhanced. Monitoring provides the means for determining how the interaction of management interventions and natural climatic variations are affecting the forest resource, and suggests when new approaches are required. Such an integrated
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Page 43 adaptive-management or systems approach to sustainable forest management will be necessary to meet future social needs and objectives. Research and monitoring make it possible to determine how forests should be managed, including whether, how, and when intervention in natural conditions is needed. Research and monitoring are essential in the development of efficient approaches to developing intensive timber plantations, restoring degraded forests to better functioning ecologic systems, and providing the amenity and spiritual values that are sought by people. ASSESSING FORESTRY-RESEARCH CAPACITY Just as monitoring of forests is necessary to ensure future growth and sustainability, monitoring the status of forestry research is important to ensure future strength and capacity. The extent and condition of forests are uncertain; more importantly, the status of the nation's capacity to address these issues through forestry research is uncertain. The capacity to achieve sustainability is highly variable and is positively correlated to the resources dedicated to forestry research (Szaro et al., 2000). It is possible to measure the input (human resources, financial resources, facilities, and equipment) into forestry research and its output (technology improvements, publications, economic development, and ecologic improvement), and a relatively thorough investigation of forestry research reveals greater capacity than perhaps widely recognized. However, how to focus and build that capacity are perhaps the most relevant questions for the next decade. This chapter of the report summarizes available data on forestry-research capacity in terms of human resource, institutional, and financial inputs. We considered input and output to forestry research to describe the current status of the nation's forestry research environment, and to assess the adequacy of the nation's capacity to meet current and future needs. We also provide an overview describing evaluations of output (perceived return on investment). Where possible, we analyze the question of capacity in different disciplines; this was one of the specific concerns that prompted our study. A PORTRAIT OFTHE FORESTRY-RESEARCH WORKFORCE As described by Bengston (1998), the research capacity of a nation is determined in part by factors within the research system, such as the quantity and quality of resources available for research and characteristics of the institutional environment in which research is carried out. It is also influenced by national characteristics, including education systems, and public and private sector roles in research. To assess current U.S. forestry-research capacity, we review the primary forestry-research organizations here. To the extent possible, we describe the levels of manpower and research support they have provided currently and historically.
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Page 44 Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service is examined as a major contributor to the nation's forestry-research portfolio, as is research performed by forestry departments, schools, and colleges throughout the United States. Research related to forests in such departments and agencies as 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) is also germane. A direct research linkage to forests, at least where the links can be ascertained and quantified, is important in determining the status of forestry-research capacity. It would not include research in areas such as botany, rural sociology, or even sustainable agriculture, which although related, are more distant and more difficult to quantify. USDA Forest Service The USDA Forest Service Research and Development branch is the largest forestry-research organization in the world and is the largest contributor to the U.S. forestry-research workforce. It maintains 77 laboratories in 67 locations throughout the United States. They are organized within six regional research stations, a Forest Products Laboratory, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Forest Service research is managed through regional research stations and each research station is made up of several Research Work Units (RWU's) located at Forestry Sciences Laboratories or on university campuses. RWU research is typically specialized in a particular subject area such as soil productivity, recreation, or forest insects. Each RWU typically conducts studies focused on its area of expertise or through interdisciplinary research projects that address complex problems of natural resource management and conservation. Interdisciplinary projects typically involve scientists from other work units, other parts of the Forest Service, other agencies, and universities. Forest Service trends in forestry research are by no means the only indicator of forestry-research capacity, but they provide accessible measures to obtain and track. Trends in Forest Service research funding, personnel, facilities, and Research Work Units (RWUs) are summarized in Tables 3–1 and 3–2. Table 3–1 summarizes trends in the number of scientist years (SYs), RWUs, and research locations for Forest Service research. The agency had 964 SY equivalents in FY 1980 and pared that number to 633 by FY 1998. During the same period, the number of RWUs declined from 246 to 137—through both attrition of scientists and consolidation of RWUs to achieve greater administrative efficiency. The number of research locations dropped less precipitously, from 86 in FY 1980 to 67 in FY 1999. Although definitive data are lacking, it is commonly believed that Forest Service research infrastructure—the physical plant, equipment, and scientific technology—also declined in quality. Supportive of this belief is a report by an interagency working group on federal laboratory reform that released a report on improving federal laboratories in which the working group concludes:
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Page 45 “The (federal) laboratories' physical and human infrastructure is rich in capability but not fully matched to the challenges of the early twenty-first century.” (National Science and Technology Council, 1999) The working group report identifies the fact that each federal laboratory is important to its local and regional economy and employs people dedicated to national priorities. Examinations and review of infrastructure, capacity, and national needs have led to conclusions that there may be overcapacity in some parts of the federal system (National Science and Technology Council, 1999). Thus, when attempting to strengthen existing infrastructure, consideration must be given to weighing costs associated with maintaining facilities that may be obsolete and that may divert limited funds from more promising facilities. Table 3–1 . Forestry-Research Statistics for USDA Forest Service, FY 1980–2002. a Fiscal Year Appropriations, millions of $ Extramural Funding, millions of $ Scientist-Years b (FTE) Research Locations Research Work Units Actual Constant 1980 Actual Constant 1980 % Appropriations 1980 111.5 111.5 10.6 10.6 9.5 964 86 248 1981 108.5 98.7 14.2 12.9 13.1 958 85 242 1982 112.1 95.3 10.8 9.1 9.5 908 83 235 1983 107.7 87.5 9.3 7.5 8.6 838 80 219 1984 109.4 85.6 7.7 6.0 7.0 813 77 207 1985 121.7 92.0 7.5 5.6 6.0 799 77 200 1986 120.1 88.4 10.4 7.6 8.6 734 78 199 1987 132.7 94.9 14.6 10.4 11.0 713 78 200 1988 135.5 93.6 18.3 12.6 13.5 724 76 190 1989 137.9 91.3 11.1 7.3 8.0 714 75 191 1990 144.7 92.0 13.2 8.4 9.1 716 75 190 1991 168.4 102.7 18.7 11.4 11.1 720 76 183 1992 181.3 107.4 29.6 17.5 16.3 714 78 183 1993 183.8 106.2 26.9 15.5 14.6 718 79 185 1994 193.1 108.9 21.5 12.1 11.1 720 78 185 1995 193.5 106.6 25.8 14.2 13.3 721 76 185 1996 178.0 96.1 14.7 7.9 8.2 692 69 185 1997 179.8 95.3 17.2 9.1 9.5 642 68 166 1998 187.8 98.4 17.6 9.2 9.3 633 67 137 1999 197.4 102.1 23.2 11.4 11.8 N/A 67 137 2000 217.7 104.3 21.6 10.3 9.9 841 N/A 137 2001 229.1 106.5 22 10.2 9.6 743 N/A 133 2002 c 241.3 110.3 N/A N/A N/A 723 N/A 133 aIncludes appropriated accounts only; excludes reimbursable accounts; bScientist-year figures include term appointments of post-doctoral students. Actual numbers of permanent full-time researchers are lower by an estimated 25–50 FTEs for FY 1996–1999. For example, 606 permanent full-time researchers were employed in FY 1998 compared with 633 FTEs. 27 FTEs of effort were contributed by employees on term appointments in FY 1998; cData for 2002 are not final. Source: R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, July 1999. Drawn from Reports of the Forest Service, Fiscal Years 1980–1998; USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, 2002 Budget Justification.
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Page 46 Table 3–2 . USDA Forest Service Research Funding by Budget Line Item, FY 1980–2002 (thousands of $). a Fiscal Year Forest Protection 1980$ Forest Protection Resource Analysis 1980$ Resource Analysis Timber and Forest Mgmt 1980$ Timber and Forest Mgmt Forest Env. and Ecosystem 1980$ Forest Env. and Ecosystem 1980 31,544 31,544 19,100 19,100 20,620 20,620 22,525 22,525 1981 29,883 27,089 18,347 16,631 20,705 18,769 32,133 29,128 1982 29,956 25,579 18,173 15,518 20,710 17,684 22,884 19,540 1983 30,061 24,870 17,316 14,326 20,585 17,030 21,813 18,046 1984 29,912 23,722 16,876 13,384 22,137 17,556 22,490 17,836 1985 29,110 22,292 21,646 16,577 22,161 16,971 22,421 17,170 1986 27,902 20,977 17,686 13,297 21,502 16,166 25,971 19,526 1987 31,224 22,648 22,218 16,116 23,891 17,329 30,580 22,181 1988 31,407 21,876 22,767 15,858 26,636 18,553 31,930 22,240 1989 32,944 21,892 22,636 15,042 27,383 18,197 33,912 22,535 1990 33,850 21,341 22,932 14,457 29,488 18,591 36,741 23,163 1991 38,168 23,091 25,807 15,613 36,550 22,112 43,373 26,240 1992 40,770 23,945 29,166 17,129 39,216 23,032 45,716 26,849 1993 40,833 23,285 30,720 17,518 39,594 22,578 46,033 26,250 1994 41,089 22,846 31,540 17,537 40,887 22,734 52,770 29,341 1995 36,998 20,004 32,361 17,497 52,924 28,615 43,083 23,294 1996 33,308 17,493 28,168 14,793 47,123 24,748 44,316 23,274 1997 33,559 17,229 26,341 13,523 50,284 25,816 45,369 23,292 1998 34,125 17,251 31,816 16,084 52,377 26,478 45,851 23,179 1999 34,307 16,968 39,021 19,300 50,664 25,058 48,924 24,198 2000 27,169 13,014 41,362 19,812 50,376 24,130 45,517 21,803 2001 29,934 13,919 37,530 17,451 53,536 25,824 50,406 23,439 2002 c 30,363 13,876 38,044 17,386 55,631 25,423 51,453 23,514 Fiscal Year Forest Products 1980$ Forest Products Subtotal 1980$ Subtotal Other b 1980$ Other b Total 1980$ Total 1980 17,742 17,742 111,531 111,531 111,531 111,531 1981 18,385 16,666 108,453 98,312 108,453 98,312 1982 20,422 17,438 112,145 95,759 112,145 95,759 1983 17,897 14,806 107,672 89,078 107,672 89,078 1984 17,988 14,266 109,403 86,764 109,403 86,764 1985 18,488 14,158 113,826 87,168 7,840 6,004 121,666 93,172 1986 17,560 13,202 110,621 83,167 6,506 4,891 117,127 88,058 1987 18,808 13,642 126,721 91,917 6,000 4,352 132,721 96,505 1988 19,770 13,770 132,510 92,297 3,000 2,090 135,510 94,387 1989 20,492 13,617 137,367 91,283 500 332 137,867 91,615 1990 21,142 13,329 144,153 90,881 500 315 144,653 91,196 1991 22,731 13,752 166,629 100,809 750 454 167,379 101,263 1992 25,640 15,059 180,508 106,014 750 440 181,258 106,455 1993 25,535 14,561 182,715 104,191 1,100 627 183,815 104,819 1994 25,697 14,288 191,983 106,744 1,100 612 193,083 107,356 1995 28,143 15,216 193,509 104,626 193,509 104,626 1996 25,085 13,174 178,000 93,482 178,000 93,482 1997 24,233 12,441 179,786 92,302 179,786 92,302 1998 23,775 12,019 187,944 95,009 (147) 74 187,797 94,935 1999 23,721 11,732 196,637 97,257 807 399 197,444 97,656 2000 22,310 10,690 186,734 89,449 2001 26,800 12,460 198,206 93,093 2002 c 28,000 12,800 203,491 92,999 aIncludes appropriated research only; excludes research construction and reimbursable accounts; bIncludes funding for competitive forestry grants, challenge cost share, and congressional earmarks; cData for 2002 are not final. Source: Reports of the Forest Service, Fiscal Years 1980–1998; R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, October 1999; USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, 2002 Budget Justification.
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Page 47 Research Scientists Numbers of research scientists employed by the Forest Service are categorized by discipline for FY 1985–1999 in Table 3–3. As the table indicates, there has been a marked reduction in scientists in the agency from 985 in FY 1985 to 537 in FY 1999. In FY 1999, 136 (25 percent) of the research scientists were classified as foresters, 50 (9.3 percent) were classified as ecologists, 44 (8.2 percent) as wildlife biologists, and 31 (5.8 percent) as entomologists. The remaining 51 percent of the scientist work force was distributed among 31 employment classifications. There has been a substantial shift in the classification of the Forest Service research scientists among disciplines. The greatest apparent reduction in expertise in the research branch is in the forester classification, from 350 in FY 1985 to 136 in FY 1999 (from 36 percent to 25 percent of the totals). Some of the reduction is not as much a proportional loss of expertise as an increase in specialization at the graduate level and an evolution of classification methods, but some silvicultural research positions and RWUs have been lost. The largest proportional loss of expertise has been in the forest products technologist classification, which dropped from 63 (6.4 percent of the total) in FY 1985 to 13 (2.4 percent) in FY 1999. Large personnel reductions also occurred in the job classifications for entomologists (70 to 31), plant pathologists (50 to 22), biologists (30 to 15), chemists (41 to 21), mathematic statisticians (30 to 12), soil scientists (27 to 15), range scientists (22 to 4), and mechanical engineers (14 to 3). The largest increase in scientists was in the number of ecologists—from 9 in FY 1985 (0.9 percent of the total) to 50 (9.3 percent) in FY 1999. That probably reflects the increasing importance of ecology as a discipline over the last 15 years, the shift toward ecosystem management on federal lands, and the attractiveness of that research classification title to scientists. The only other groups that had more than a one-person increase were social scientists (9 to 14, offset by a 15 to 9 reduction in economists), and physical scientists (from 3 to 6). In short, it is clear that Forest Service research capacity has decreased in terms of the number of scientists who are employed exclusively on a full-time permanent basis. The agency has hired many scientists on a temporary basis to work on major assessment projects, such as the President's plan and the Interior Columbia River Basin study. Those studies, however, tend to pull scientists away from basic research, and into applied, short-run data gathering, analysis, and synthesis projects. On balance, the substantial new assessment funds probably do little to build long-term research capacity. The Forest Service also has hired an increasing number of persons with graduate degrees to work in the National Forest System and in state and private forestry. They might conduct modest studies and provide service to public land or private land managers, but they are not necessarily conducting long-term research relevant for the Forest Service. Again, there is probably not a net gain in applied research by employing persons with graduate degrees in other Forest Service branches, although the research knowledge obtained could be transferred more effectively by a larger complement of agency employees with graduate degrees.
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Page 48 Table 3–3. Number of Forest Service Research Scientists by Discipline, FY 1985– 1988. OPM Series Title 1985 1988 1990 1995 1997 a 1998 a 1999 a 101 Social scientist 9 7 8 17 12 13 14 110 Economist 15 11 11 11 9 6 9 150 Geographer 5 0 1 1 0 0 1 193 Archeologist 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 401 Biologist 30 16 13 14 13 14 15 403 Microbiologist 14 11 9 14 10 10 11 408 Ecologist 9 18 25 46 52 53 50 410 Civil engineer 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 414 Entomologist 70 62 55 38 35 30 31 430 Botanist 15 13 13 12 9 9 8 434 Plant pathologist 50 48 45 35 27 25 22 435 Plant physiologist 26 29 35 34 27 30 29 437 Horticultural 2 1 1 4 0 0 0 440 Geneticist 31 22 20 19 19 20 18 454 Range scientist 22 19 15 5 6 5 4 460 Forester 350 242 230 138 143 138 136 470 Soil scientist 27 27 28 19 17 16 15 482 Fishery biologist 8 8 11 14 11 14 14 486 Wildlife biologist 42 38 44 44 41 45 44 515 Ops. research analyst 7 1 2 0 0 0 0 801 General engineer 32 25 28 29 23 26 22 807 Landscape architect 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 808 Architect 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 810 Supvy res. civil engineer 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 819 Environmental engineer 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 830 Mechanical engineer 14 9 8 7 4 3 3 855 Electrical engineer 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 893 Chemical engineer 11 6 8 6 4 6 6 896 Industrial engineer 3 2 3 2 2 2 0 1301 Physical scientist 3 1 3 5 5 5 6 1310 Physicist 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1315 Hydrologist 19 21 21 13 13 14 13 1320 Chemist 41 19 21 21 16 18 21 1340 Meteorologist 12 8 9 9 9 10 8 1350 Geologist 5 4 4 4 5 5 3 1380 Forest products technologist 63 43 31 25 21 18 13 1520 Mathematical 5 1 2 4 2 2 2 1529 Mathematical statistician 30 17 16 14 11 13 12 1530 Biological statistician 0 0 2 1 1 1 1 Total 985 736 723 607 548 552 537 aSource: Nov. 22, 1996, Nov. 24, 1997; and Feb. 16, 1999; NFC Report, Count of Filled Positions Classified Under the RGEG.
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Page 49 Today, Forest Service scientists have a greater level of research support in terms of operating funds and support personnel than was the case two decades ago. Data in Table 3–1 show that the average budget in 1980 was about $116,000 per SY. By FY 2001, it had increased to about $308,000 per SY or $143,000 per SY in constant 1980 dollars. The average budget, therefore, has increased per SY, although the constant dollar total agency appropriations has declined to $106.5 million. Research Productivity Productivity or output measures have become increasingly important for government agencies in the last decade. Specifically, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 mandates that all federal agencies measure and report on the results of their activities annually. Agencies are required to develop a strategic plan that sets goals and objectives for a 5-year period and to produce an annual report of success in meeting them (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy [COSEPUP], 1999). The GPRA process has prompted various efforts to define performance measures and collect information that can be used to track success. The National Academies have been examining means to implement the GPRA. A 1999 report (National Research Council, 1999, P. 9) suggested, as one of six major recommendations that: Federal agencies should use expert review to assess the quality of research they support, the relevance of that research to their mission, and the leadership of that research. Expert review must strive for having balance between having the most knowledgeable and the most independent individuals as members. Each agency should develop clear, explicit guidance with regard to structuring and employing expert review processes. The Forest Service has collected data on research productivity for years before GPRA began and provided summaries on the productivity as measured by publications as part of this study on forestry-research capacity ( Table 3–4). The data provided by the Forest Service summarize publications by aggregate budget line item in slightly different format from the budget data. The four broad categories of research were vegetation management and protection research (VMPR), wildlife, fish, watershed, and atmospheric sciences research (WFWAR), resource valuation and use research (RVUR), and inventory and monitoring research (IM). Table 3–4 shows the total reported publications summarized in the Forest Service research stations and RWU attainment reports, including internal publications by Forest Service scientists and external publications by cooperating scientists. Scientists in the four broad categories of research had 1,886 publications in FY 1981, 2,299 in FY 1985, 3,021 in FY 1995, and 2,718 in FY 1998. Recall that the Forest Service (internal) scientist years for 1985, 1995, and 1998 were 985, 607, and 552 respectively. Thus the average number of publications was 3.06 per scientist in FY 1985, 5.0 in FY 1995, and 4.9 in FY 1998. Each of the four resource evaluation categories
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Page 50 Table 3–4 . Number of Forest Service Publications by Discipline, FY 1981–1998. Subject Area RBAIS 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 Vegetation Management and Protection Research (VMPR) Fundamental Plant Science 1.1 182 155 221 219 209 245 238 245 207 155 329 287 243 358 282 281 270 281 Silvicultural Applications 1.2 116 178 201 226 196 162 153 153 176 160 200 310 208 242 289 210 206 214 Quantitative Analysis 1.3 91 60 66 67 68 69 66 127 83 92 45 53 83 61 57 52 73 76 Forest and Rangeland Management 1.4 87 69 140 128 98 120 111 115 109 102 134 122 178 293 238 234 115 120 Forest Operations Engineering 1.5 39 38 50 66 84 71 70 57 40 46 50 73 58 71 58 49 59 61 Insects/Diseases/Exotic Weeds 1.7 406 447 440 431 489 428 411 339 328 383 337 403 427 480 383 364 279 290 Fire Science 1.9 86 78 105 65 102 88 86 113 56 84 100 100 75 114 101 99 112 116 Subtotal—VMPR 1.0 1,007 1,025 1,223 1,202 1,246 1,183 1,135 1,149 999 1,022 1,195 1,348 1,272 1,619 1,408 1,289 1,114 1,158 Wildlife, Fish, Watershed, and Atmospheric Sciences Research (WFWAR) Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat 2.1 144 136 134 138 136 165 162 156 147 121 204 190 213 288 269 287 281 292 Aquatic Habitat 2.2 31 21 28 37 18 26 27 38 17 27 46 34 73 81 103 95 109 113 Watershed 2.3 149 141 183 119 189 177 173 215 219 292 141 219 181 226 301 282 253 263 Atmospheric Sciences 2.4 13 28 32 30 35 19 17 10 32 21 51 31 49 62 95 77 83 86 Subtotal—WFWAR 2.0 337 326 377 324 378 387 379 419 415 461 442 474 516 657 768 741 726 754 Resource Valuation and Use Research (RVUR) Economics 3.1 94 122 128 142 182 205 196 131 190 159 142 215 168 200 175 187 113 117 Urban Forestry 3.2 33 23 41 25 36 45 42 31 17 58 46 2 49 60 40 51 37 38 Wilderness 3.3 7 6 9 6 7 7 6 4 5 8 9 23 8 11 9 15 16 17 Social/Cultural 3.4 64 54 78 53 62 59 56 40 49 74 77 211 68 97 78 135 144 150 Forest Product Utilization and Processing 3.5 212 170 221 210 192 197 188 102 144 142 157 169 238 244 285 258 240 249 Forest Product Safety/Human Health 3.6 44 63 66 67 65 84 80 126 71 72 81 101 70 80 64 59 108 112 Subtotal—RVUR 3.0 454 438 543 503 544 596 568 434 476 513 512 721 600 692 651 705 658 683 Inventory and Monitoring Research (I&M) Forest Inventory & Analysis 4.1 88 92 99 119 110 143 138 203 109 120 107 123 105 122 102 166 78 81 Forest Health Monitoring 4.2 22 23 Monitoring Methods/Applications 4.3 — — — — — — — — — — — — 23 47 36 46 18 19 Subtotal—I&M 4.0 88 92 99 119 110 143 138 203 109 120 107 123 128 169 138 212 118 123 General 0.0 — 28 17 31 21 21 20 22 79 49 148 7 20 71 56 58 — — GRAND TOTAL 1,886 1,909 2,259 2,179 2,299 2,330 2,240 2,227 2,078 2,165 2,404 2,673 2,536 3,208 3,021 3,005 2,616 2,718
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Page 51 increased their output of publications. WFWAR increased the most, from 337 in 1981 to 754 in 1999 (a 124% increase). IM publication numbers were fairly constant, VMPR increased about 15 percent, and RVUR increased rapidly and then declined to about a 50 percent increase over the base year, 1981. Source: R.Guldin, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, July 1999. Those trends appear to indicate that Forest Service researchers have become more productive in the measure that is most easily quantified. Some of that could be inherent productivity gains, some a response to fears that less productive RWUs and scientists will suffer reductions in force as budgets decline, and some gamesmanship in reporting to represent internal and external publications better. When productivity is evaluated in terms of the number of publications per year compared with the annual Forest Service research budget, it appears that productivity increased from approximately 25 publications per $1 million in 1985 to 28 publications per $1 million in 1998. Whether the Forest Service scientists and RWUs are actually more productive in their overall contributions to advancing the state of science or increasing knowledge remains moot. Research Quality Quality of research programs is more difficult to measure than financial resources and publications. With the pressure of increased productivity, Forest Service and other researchers are required to respond to the most quantifiable indicators of research success, which could potentially place too much emphasis on publications. That might harm research and shift efforts toward more applied or superficial topics and publication of “least publishable units” and away from challenging high-priority goals and seminal and integrative papers. The primary focus on applied or superficial topics also could adversely affect technology transfer efforts, in that they can receive less credit for research quality than other types of publications. The quality of research programs is hard to assess, as is their impact on forest management and protection. Such measures as success in receiving externally funded peer-reviewed grants or external peer reviews of science programs as suggested by the National Academies (1999), might be required to assess research program quality in the Forest Service and other forestry-research organizations. Research Advisory Body The Forest Research Advisory Council was authorized in 1995 and was reestablished by departmental regulation in 2002 as a requirement of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, Section 1441c to provide advice to the Secretary of Agriculture on accomplishing efficiently the purposes of the Act of October 10, 1962 (16 U.S.C. 582a et seq.), commonly known as the McIntire-Stennis Act. The Council provides advice related to the Forest Service research program and reports to the Secretary on regional and national planning and coordination of forestry research within the Federal and State agencies concerned with developing and utilizing the Nation's forest resources, forestry schools, and the forest industries. In addition, the Council provides advice to the Secretary on the apportionment of funds for the McIntire-Stennis Program. The Council consists of 20 members appointed by the Secretary. These members are drawn from
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Page 52 federal, state, university, industry, and volunteer public organizations. Support to the Council is provided by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and the Forest Service and it is served by 0.3 staff years. The functions and responsibilities of the council include: Meeting at least once annually Reporting to the Secretary on regional and national planning and coordination of forestry research within the Federal and State agencies, forestry schools, and the forest industries Advising the Secretary on apportionment of funds Making special reports to the Secretary jointly through the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment. The Council has most of its membership coming from university and industry, and could be better balanced with perspectives needed to address the Council's charter. Needed perspectives other than those of the USDA Forest Service include a broader range of research partners and colleagues, stakeholders, users, and planners. The Council's work could be enhanced with input from more federal agencies outside of the USDA and the EPA, the only two federal agencies represented on the Council. Although the members of the Council work with others in the scientific community apart from the USDA and EPA, the council's work would benefit from broader perspectives offered by professionals in other government agencies, universities, and other research organizations. The charter of the Council provides it with the authority to make recommendations on funding, planning and coordination of forestry research. The opportunity for greater involvement of all sectors concerned with forestry research exists. The Council's work could be more effective if it were better focused on the portions of its duties concerned with setting research priorities of McIntire-Stennis funding and monitoring accomplishments, and advising the Forest Service with research planning and priorities Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges A large amount of research is performed in schools and colleges. Faculties are drawn from an array of disciplines. They teach, perform research, and provide extension and professional services. Their total contribution to forestry research is substantial, probably equaling or exceeding that of the Forest Service. Some 48 universities have Society of American Foresters-accredited forestry curricula, and more than 60 universities or colleges have identifiable forestry and natural resources programs. Faculty Table 3–5 summarizes the trends in forestry faculty employment at 53 universities that have forestry programs and is derived from the USDA Handbook 305 (1994). As of the 1993–1994 academic year, there were 1,459 faculty listed in the handbook as being in
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Page 71 Table 3–10 . Federal Funding for Forestry Research by Selected Agency and Program, FY 1994–2000 (thousands of $). Agency/Program 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 USDA National Research Initiative (NRI) a 6,512 9,939 4,121 6,960 4,500 — b — Forestry 4,244 7,783 2,298 4,424 2,654 — — Improved utilization of wood and fiber 2,266 2,156 1,823 2,536 1,846 — — Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems c — — — — — 1,924 2,252 NSF d Division of Environmental Biology — 5,885 17,906 15,217 17,892 9,409 — Division of Biological Infrastructure — 892 1,189 86 1,393 5,171 — Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience — 0 2,484 1,128 665 730 — Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences — 0 0 0 0 561 — Total — 6,777 21,579 16,431 19,950 15,871 — DOE e Terrestrial Carbon Processes Research Program — — — — 4,934 5,476 4,486 Ecosystems Research Program — — — — 3,454 3,645 3,133 National Institute for Global Environmental Change Program — — — — — 3,722 3,074 Total — — — — 8,388 12,843 10,693 NASA f Research and analysis programs 13,100 9,400 13,600 Terrestrial Ecology — — — — 7,700 6,500 7,800 Land Cover and Land Use Change — — — — 4,000 2,000 4,300 Earth Observing System Interdisciplinary Science — — — — 1,000 400 1,100 g Natural Hazards (Fire) — — — — 400 500 200 Forest Topography (Analysis of Radar Data) h — — — — 0 0 200
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Page 72 aSource: Cindy Huebner, USDA/NRI, Washington, DC, personal communication, October 1999. Data include projects directly related to forests or forestry. Data exclude indirect forestry-related research (such as, genetics of forest pests and wood products). bData not available. cSource: Paula Geiger, USDA Office of Budget Program Analysis, Washington, DC, personal communication, March 2000. Data present funding for agroforestry. 2001 president's budget for agroforestry is $2,252,000. dSource: James Edwards, NSF, Arlington, VA, personal communication, December 1999. eSource: Karen L.Carlson, DOE, Germantown, MD, personal communication, March 2000. fSource: Diane Wickland, NASA, Washington, DC, personal communication, February 2000. Data include investments in satellite data analysis specific to forests but not to all vegetation. Data exclude investments in space missions (flight and ground software and hardware) that observe forests. gDoes not include new program selections for FY 2000. hThis program cuts across the four preceding programs. It was supported as a part of two one-time space shuttle science missions—Shuttle Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). These included establishment of a tropical forestry center, a sustainable forestry proposal, and a forest biotechnology proposal. NSF provides grants for research related to forests. The foundation does not have a forestry research division, but many research grants and Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site projects deal directly with forests, forestry, trees, or wood. Estimates of recent NSF research related to forestry or trees ranged from a high of $21.5 million in 1996 to $15.9 million in 1999. The Divisions of Environmental Biology and Biological Infrastructure provided the majority of this funding. DOE began an Agenda 2020 research program related to forestry in 1996. In addition, it has funded a variety of forestry-related energy projects for decades. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed for the DOE and conducts direct forest-related research. The previous expenditures by DOE for forestry research were more than $7 million per year. Annual Agenda 2020 expenditures were about $2 to 3 million from 1996 to 1999. Most of those expenditures were targeted toward biotechnology, physiology, soil productivity, remote sensing and wood quality research, but sustainable forestry projects received a substantial share. EPA has performed or funded a rapidly increasing amount of forestry research, focusing on such issues as global climate change, carbon storage, water quality, and air quality. EPA personnel demurred on providing estimates of their research related to forestry, noting that their work was focused on aquatic resources. They did note, however, that they conduct research on related topics, such as land-use and land cover changes, biogenic emissions from forest canopies and fires, forests as a component of riparian zone restoration, forest fragmentation and habitat, acid deposition and vegetation effects, pesticide effects and exposures to terrestrial vegetation, and whole-watershed assessments. If one uses a somewhat broader definition of forestry-related research, relevant EPA expenditures would be about $10 to 20 million per year. NASA has funded increasing amounts of research related to forests in recent years. NASA's estimated contribution to forestry research is about $10 million per year, with terrestrial ecology being the largest portion.
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Page 73 There are other sources of government and nongovernment funding of research in forestry subjects, either narrowly or broadly defined. Nongovernment organizations, such as The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy, have applied-research programs that specifically address forestry issues and problems. State forestry organizations such as those of Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Georgia, and Virginia either have specific funding for forestry research or perform a host of applied studies on ecologic and social issues. Federal agencies—such as the DOI Bureau of Land Management, U.S.Geological Survey Division of Biological Sciences (formerly Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service research), and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service—perform a wealth of research related to forest flora and fauna. The total amount of their research that is directly related to forestry is not known, but is substantial. In addition, a host of international organizations, ranging from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank to organizations in other countries, sponsor research related to world forests that provides considerable funding to U.S. and international scientists. In total, those other organizations probably add $10 to 50 million to the more-precise forestry-research funding totals estimated above. Forestry research could be defined even more broadly—as anything related to the ecology or people associated with the one-third of the nation's total land base classified as forest, or even the world's forest resources. Given a broader definition, the amount of forestry research in the country is indeed very large. However, given that definition, there are many overlaps with other disciplines; it thus provides a blunt tool for assessing the status and deficiencies in our forestry-research capacity. So a narrow enough definition of forestry research is used in our study to estimate trends in investments and accomplishments. EVALUATING RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN FORESTRY RESEARCH Investment in forestry research has resulted in diverse benefits, such as lower-cost wood products for consumers, increased income for rural people through improved management and marketing of wood from small woodlots, expanded employment opportunities, improved water quality and flows, maintenance of ecologic integrity and diversity, and enhanced recreation experiences through new recreation-management techniques. Research has led to increased quality and efficiency in the use of all forest resources. Various studies have examined the returns on investments in forestry research. Bengston (1999) summarized many of the studies that occurred as part of a focused effort in the 1980s; Hyde et al. (1992) published The Economic Benefits of Forestry Research; and a few other studies have also been published. Table 3–11 summarizes the results of the studies. The evaluations indicate that forestry research has consistently had handsome economic rates of return for improvements in individual forest management practice and for wood products research. The average rates of return for wood products research had the greatest returns, ranging from about 15 to 40 percent per year for most conventional
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Page 74 research applications. Softwood plywood research had very large returns on research investments, as did wood preservation research, but such breakthroughs are uncommon. The large benefits of forest products research are attributable mostly to the fact that gains are achieved and implemented quickly, and application to a large volume of end products increases net gain. These gains accrue more to wood products producers (large firms) and consumers than to forest landowners or others for whom public research expenditures may be more easily justified. Timber-management research evaluations also generally found excellent economic rates of return or benefit:cost ratios. Economic rates of return for individual programs such as forest pest management, containerized seedlings, and forest nutrition ranged from 9 percent to more than 100 percent. Benefit:cost ratios ranged from 2.3:1 to 34:1 for fusiform rust research, growth and yield modeling, herbaceous weed control, and tree improvement programs. The one notable exception in these findings was low rates of return (0–7 percent) found for aggregate southern softwood forestry research (Hyde et al., 1992). Hyde et al. (1992) compared aggregate productivity gains for the entire southern forestry sector with aggregate southern forestry research investments. Such aggregate econometric comparisons might provide less robust means of identifying and estimating technical change than individual analyses of production economics and marginal rates of return. Compared with agriculture, aggregate changes in making slight growth improvements in all southern pine production would be expected to be much lower than the spectacular gains or returns one would expect to receive based domesticating wild cereal crops. Most forestry-research evaluations demonstrate that past gains have been substantial. The fusiform rust research evaluation also estimated the possible incremental gains that could be achieved if fusiform rust were eliminated as a major southern pest. The advent of integrated biotechnology and forest-pathology research makes such a previously unlikely goal possible. Eliminating fusiform rust as a major disease of southern pines could quadruple the calculated benefits of the current tree breeding strategies (Cubbage et al., 2000). Rapid advances in integrated biotechnology, tree breeding, forest nutrition, herbicides, and silviculture have clearly yielded substantial marginal rates of economic return on financial investments (i.e., Yin et al., 1998; Siry et al., 2001) and research investments, although no formal research-evaluation studies have been published. Forestry research evaluations to date have measured the gains from research that have increased the efficiency of wood utilization and timber management, but they have not captured the gains from productivity sustaining (maintenance) research. An estimated 43 percent of Forest Service research—and probably an equal portion of other forestry research—is aimed at maintaining the existing productivity level, which would decline in the absence of research to deal with disease, pests, and other factors that adversely affect forest productivity (O'Laughlin et al., 1986).
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Page 75 Table 3–11 . Return on Investment in Forestry Research. Measures of Economic Impact Research Evaluated Marg. ERR a % Avg. ERR b % B/C Ratio c Wood product research Structural particleboard (Bengston, 1984) 27–35 19–22 Lumber and wood products (Bengston, 1985) 34–40 Timber utilization (Haygreen, et al., 1986) 14–36 Wood preservation (Brunner & Strauss, 1987) 15:1 Softwood plywood (Seldon & Newman, 1987) 236 Timber management research Forest pest management (Araji, 1981) 60–86 Tree improvement (Levenson, 1984) 34:1 Forest nutrition (Bare & Loveless, 1985) 9–12 Growth and yield model (Chang, 1985) 16:1 Containerized seedlings (Westgate, 1986) 37–111 Herbaceous weed control (Huang & Teeter, 1990) 17–21:1 Timber harvesting (Cubbage et al., 1988) 17 Southern softwood forestry (Hyde et al., 1992) 0–7 Fusiform rust (Pye et al.,1997; Cubbage et al., 2000) 2–20:1 aMarginal economic rate of return: ERR on additional funds invested. bAverage economic rate of return: ERR on total investments; ranges reflect different sets of assumptions. cBenefit:cost ratio, when benefits and costs are discounted back to a common time; ranges reflect different sets of assumptions. Productivity research is only a portion of public, and perhaps of private, research. Past evaluations of forestry research have not captured the value of economic benefits derived outside the marketplace, such as those related to environmental protection and improvement, and to amenity and recreation values. The prospects for large economic returns to forestry research on nonmarket goods and services also are significant. Research on the nonmarket benefits of the monitoring of wildlife, biodiversity, forest health, and even inventory and analysis also should enhance our management, conservation, and quality of life significantly. One study indicates that the economic benefits of wildland recreation research can be substantial and that society has under-invested in recreation research (Bengston and Xu, 1993). Thus, the rates of return shown in Table 3–11 likely represent conservative estimates of the payoff of public forestry research.
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Page 76 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Several themes transcend this overview of research capacity. Investment in U.S. forestry research is substantial and more stable in total than commonly believed. But it is fragmented among organizations. Direct USDA Forest Service forestry research personnel and support have declined, and other agencies are increasing their focus on issues related to forestry. Therefore, better information is needed to monitor the status of the inputs to forestry research. Although the Forest Service maintains pertinent information related to much of its research, comprehensive information on forestry research in the United States is lacking. In 1997, the National Science and Technology Council recommended a framework for integrating the nation's environmental monitoring and research networks and programs, noting that new developments in science and technology provide new opportunities for collecting and organizing data. (National Science and Technology Council, 1997). With current fiscal limitations facing all levels of government, cooperation and efficiency among agencies is essential to the long-term success of individual programs. Following on the need for an integrated environmental and monitoring network, an integrated forestry-research information system is needed for tracking forestry research activities. The initial challenge will be to build on, enhance, and integrate existing databases. Recommendation 3–1 The Forest Service should enhance its current research-information system and tracking efforts by establishing an improved and integrated interagency system that includes relevant information on forestry research activities, workforce, funding, and accomplishments in all agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other relevant federal agencies, and associated organizations as appropriate. Implementation of an enhanced system would require integrating information on forestry research from the Forest Service, agencies in USDA, NSF, DOE, EPA, DOI, and NASA. The system would provide a stronger foundation on which to base decisions for the future. Developing better information on the status of forestry research will require settling on the type of data that should be included in such a system; determining funding and staffing levels of federal, state, university, and nongovernment organizations performing forestry research; noting research priorities; and tracking quantitative and qualitative research accomplishments. Personnel Based on the Forest Service survey (2002), 2,186 scientist FTEs were employed at universities, in the Forest Service, or with forest industry in 2001. An estimated total of 1,346 FTEs were dedicated to research, with about 43% at universities, 49% at the Forest Service, and 8% with the private forest industry. About 600 forest scientist FTEs were dedicated to teaching, and 62 to extension. Scientists employed by other federal
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Page 77 and state organizations and nongovernment organizations would add perhaps another 50 to 100 to that total. Whether we have an adequate number of scientists in the requisite disciplines for the future, however, is debatable. Forest Service data support the belief that there have been rapid declines in the numbers of scientists in traditional research areas, such as silviculture, entomology, disease, and forest products. Most other disciplines in the Forest Service experienced declines in the number of scientists employed over the last 15 years. Ecologists have increased in number, but attrition clearly has reduced Forest Service research capacity. Forest Service timber management research probably has declined, but this has been offset by large increases in broad forest management research. Despite perceptions by traditional stakeholders, Forest Service data on funding indicate that environmental research appears to have declined. On the other hand, based on the SFM data tallies by FTE, Forest Service environmental research in biodiversity and ecosystem health research now combines to constitute their largest research area. University research has a broader focus with more emphasis on social science and institutional frameworks. Private industry focuses mostly on productive capacity and soil and water research. Data on disciplines of academic researchers and teachers are not readily available, but experience suggests that academia is unlikely to cover all the shortfalls evidenced by declines in most Forest Service scientific research disciplines. Recommendation 3–2 The Forest Service should substantially strengthen its research workforce over the next five years to address current and impending shortfalls, specifically recruiting and retaining researchers trained in the disciplines identified as foundation and critical emerging fields of forestry science. Addressing the rapid decline in scientific manpower will strengthen the Forest Service's ability to respond to short- and long-term research needs. Employing additional full-time permanent researchers, rather than supplementing with temporary employees and post-doctoral students, in fields that are required to address traditional and emerging issues will improve Forest Service continuity and effectiveness in research efforts. Although post-docs and temporary employees are appropriate for some jobs— and do have a place—in many ways they cannot be compared to full-time employees. It is imperative that the Forest Service address the current deficiencies as soon as possible, because the situation is likely to become worse. In the past 8 years alone, the Forest Service has lost over 9000 total employees and during the past 15 years has lost approximately 45% of its scientists. Currently 35% of its workforce is eligible to retire in the next five years and the average age of employees is 55 years, with only five employees under the age of 25 years (personal communication, Mark Rey, USDA). The U.S. Department of Labor substantiates that the number of available workers is decreasing, the average age of the workforce is increasing, the pool of young workers is shrinking, and the number of less educated people in the workforce is increasing (U.S. Department of Labor, 2000). Although employment conditions differ greatly by field and subfield of science (National Research Council 1998), the demand for employees in
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Page 78 science and technology in many areas that support important federal missions has outstripped supply (National Science and Technology Council, 2000). The cost associated with strengthening and retaining the Forest Service research workforce is nominal compared with the costs associated with operating under current and projected deficiencies. Recommendation 3–3 As part of the increase in research personnel capacity and resources, the Forest Service should enhance cooperative relations with forestry schools and colleges. Partnerships that have evolved between the Federal government and the nation's universities have proven exceptionally productive, successfully promoting discovery of knowledge, stimulating technologic innovations, improving quality of life, educating and training the next generation of scientists and engineers, and contributing to America's prosperity (National Science and Technology Council, 1999). Cooperative research allocations by the Forest Service have decreased markedly from about 15 percent to 9 percent of its budget from 1990 to 1997. The Forest Service should consider designating a larger percentage of its total research budget to the station or research work unit level for extramural research grants that are inter-organizational and cooperative, requiring active involvement, cooperation, and integration of Forest Service, university, and other research partners. The integration of research and education is the hallmark and strength of our research and education system. Two important rationales exist for federal investment in university-based research and these are: (1) the benefits derived from training a new generation of scientists and (2) continuous mutual enrichment that is derived from the relationship (National Science and Technology Council, 1999; National Science Foundation, 1998). The agency could strengthen its relationship with partners if a larger and more openly competitive cooperative grants program existed. Research Quality, Productivity, and Efficacy Measuring research quality, productivity, and effectiveness of transferring research to users is difficult. Better oversight and program reviews would help to ensure that organizations are pursuing appropriate strategic directions and implementing them with sound operational programs. The forestry research sector consists of a broad group of public and private organizations. A central organizing body is needed to monitor forestry research and facilitate cooperation among the various organizations. Creation of new federal or state organizations is not necessary, but better oversight and direction from advisory bodies are needed. Recommendation 3–4 The USDA Forest Research Advisory Committee should focus its efforts in two primary areas: (1) working with USDA research leaders in the Forest Service and other agencies to set research priorities and monitor accomplishments, and (2) coordinating
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Page 79 with USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and other agencies to help guide research priorities of McIntire-Stennis, Renewable Resources Extension Act, National Research Initiative, and other grant programs. Those involved in providing focus should include professionals in government agencies, universities, and other relevant organizations as members or ex-officio members. A full-time dedicated professional USDA senior-level director would facilitate operations, serve as communication liaison, monitor forestry research accomplishments, and coordinate site reviews and visits. Those involved would also monitor forestry-research quality and accountability by renewing and expanding the periodic review process, including reviews of McIntire-Stennis projects and Forest Service agency and cooperative agreement research accomplishments. Reasonable intervals for site visits are 10 years for McIntire-Stennis institutions and 5 years for Forest Service research stations. Advisory groups would help to ensure that research agencies and other organizations are pursuing appropriate strategic directions and implementing them with sound operational programs. Implementing or renewing forestry-research oversight reviews would correspond with the mandates for performance evaluation under the GPRA. Reviews might not necessarily entail additional report preparation, but perhaps more site visits, discussion of research priorities and progress, adaptive management or research programs. Recommendation 3–5 Universities and state institutions should increase the use of competitive mechanisms for allocating McIntire-Stennis and Renewable Resources Extension Act funds within these institutions, and in doing so, encourage team approaches to solving forestry and natural resource problems as well as integrated research and extension proposals or interinstitutional cooperation. With goals consistent to the respective Congressional Acts, many universities allocate McIntire-Stennis, Hatch, and Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) funding via a merit-based competitive process (for example, see Boxes 3–1 and 3–2). Scientific excellence is promoted when investments are guided by merit review that rewards quality and productivity in research and accommodates for endeavors that might be high-risk but have potential for high gain (National Science and Technology Council, 1999, 2001; National Research Council, 2000). Clearly, formula-fund allocations are critical for diffusing research throughout the nation, for pursuit of long-term research goals and multidisciplinary research, and for supporting a system in which university faculty appointments are split among some combination of research, extension and teaching. There is a need to preserve the advantages offered by formula funding (University of Idaho, 1983), particularly their facilitation of linked research, extension, and teaching programs (National Research Council, 1996). However, if more competitive approaches were used by universities and state institutions for allocation of formula-based McIntire-Stennis funds, the opportunities for improving the quality and accountability of research funded will be greater. A
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Page 80 stronger commitment to addressing the quality and accountability of formula-based research might also provide greater support for funding the critical McIntire-Stennis program at a level closer to that at which it was authorized. The current funding level of McIntire-Stennis is only approximately $21 million, which is less than half its authorized level. Institutions, or consortia, should concentrate research capital in specific (and perhaps limited) fields of forestry research where they operate best or have some recognized institutional advantage. One of the ways to increase quality and cooperation is to bring federal, state, and private-sector scientists into the academic fabric where needed to augment the expertise of university faculty in preparing future scientists. Collaboration of nonuniversity scientists in the academic fabric could expand the “critical mass” of scientists and educators preparing future scientists. In addition research oversight and mechanisms, technology transfer should be improved. We have made great strides in many fields of basic and applied research, but resources directed to extension and cooperative efforts have steadily declined. A stronger delivery system must be developed. Recommendation 3–6 The U.S. Department of Agriculture, together with universities, should develop means to more effectively communicate existing and new knowledge to users, managers, and planners in forestry. If we are to achieve broadly recognized forestry research and development goals, our technology transfer and extension capability should be enhanced. Almost 10 million nonindustrial private landowners rely on extension, communication, and transfer of research results to make informed decisions (National Research Council, 1998). Universities, government, and private organizations should work together to improve mechanisms for communicating research and technology. Fiscal Strength At least $400 million is spent on forestry research each year by the various research organizations in the United States, and the total might well exceed $500 million. Funding includes about $200 million for Forest Service research and $204 million for research in professional forestry schools, colleges, and departments. NAPFSC data indicate that forestry schools received about $23 million of their external research funds from non-Forest Service grants and $12 million from Forest Service cooperative agreements in 1998. The USDA has provided other funding through NRI and IFAFS, in the amount of approximately $10 million per year. Including the data reported in the SFI and NCASI research, the forest industry spends at least $70 million per year in forestry research and probably far more on wood and paper research. State agencies spend a few million dollars per year in total on applied forestry research. Federal agencies other than the Forest Service were unable to provide definitive estimates of their funding of forestry research, but DOE, EPA, NASA, DOI, and NSF spend at least $10 million per year on
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Page 81 research specifically related to forests. Total forest research expenditures in the United States were about $530 million in 1998. Trends in university and nonfederal forestry research are difficult to assess. Non-Forest Service federal, state, and nongovernmental organization forestry research has increased in recent years despite fairly static funding in Forest Service research funds. Forest industry research also appears to have increased in the last 5 years, although it is concentrated in a few firms. Toward Greater Capacity The overview presented here suggests that financial and human investments in forestry research, construed narrowly, are substantial and that return on investment is high. Forestry research may be defined more broadly to include much of natural resources research. In either case, the nation has moderate capacity to discover new knowledge about forest resources. However, the nation's forestry-research capacity and investment in research, particularly in Forest Service research, have declined sharply in the last decade. Many scientific disciplines appear to have dwindling numbers of research scientists and dwindling expertise despite rapid increases in pressing problems regarding the productivity, health, management, and protection of our nation's forests. Those trends are important and must be addressed without delay, given the rapidly increasing number of challenges and issues facing forests and forestry research.
Representative terms from entire chapter: