Click for next page ( 14


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 13
The Gap Between Society's Needs and the Status of Forestry Research Research on forests and their components and their interactions with people currently spreads far outside forestry institutions and companies. No scholarly effort to fully inventory research on forests has been made in the United States, nor is there any widely recognized forum that facilitates communication among all the parts of forestry and forest research. This lack of leadership contributes to an overall fragmentation of effort and absence of clear definition of what constitutes forestry and forestry research. This fragmentation has its ultimate roots in the various concepts of forest management as they developed in this country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the past two decades, natural resource management in general and forest management in particular have been in a state of considerable turmoil. While resource managers have been struggling with new views and values, forestry research has concentrated primarily on technical forestry or production-based forestry. This tendency, coupled with the public's increasing interest in environmental issues, has led to a widening gap between the status of forestry research and the perceived need for this research. To form a vision of future forestry research needs, we must understand our current situation. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, natural resource use in North America was based on a utilitarian paradigm, which held that natural resources were inexhaustible and that they should be exploited to raise individual and collective standards of living. New views on how natural resources should be used began to develop in 13

OCR for page 13
14 FORESTRY RE:SEARCH the latter half of the nineteenth century. George Perkins Marsh (1864) was an early American proponent of the conservationist paradigm. Marsh urged that humanity address nature with a sense of stewardship. It was logical that the progressive administration of Theodore Roosevelt should adopt this philosophy for natural resources, and Gifford Pinchot, as a member of this administration, became not only the father of American forestry, but also the acknowledged father of forestry's conservation paradigm (Culhane, 1981~. Pinchot transformed the philosophy into one of wise use; he cham- pioned scientific forestry and rational planning as ways of using forests tO raise living standards without destroying the land's ability to be used. Pinchot's vision was, however, still biased toward commodity production from the forest, which he referred to as a "wood factory" and a "tree farm." This conservation paradigm had insufficient public support to enable the Roosevelt administration to persuade Congress to enact conservation legislation. Not until Pinchot's ideas were blended with the more romantic views of others such as John Muir and Frederick Law Olmstead was public sentiment sufficient to force Congress to act. Consequently, public support for "conservation" has always come partly from those dedicated to conservationism and partly from those who believe deeply in more romantic views of nature (preservationists) (Hays, 1959~. This dichotomy of attitudes toward public land management among the citizenry has been a major factor in the turmoil over forest plans, oil and gas leasing, grazing fees, and so forth. With a few notable exceptions, such as the spotted owl, research directed toward the major concerns of the preservationists had been a low priority. Foresters inherited Pinchot's "tree-farm" view of the forest and his belief in scientific forestry as the road to wise use of forestry resources. Research priorities have long been dominated by commodity production goals. Aldo Leopold expressed a divergent view of natural resources man- agement in "The Land Ethic" (Leopold, 1949~. In addition to urging "an intense consciousness of land," he provides a dramatic test for land- management activities: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." In the last decade of this century, we see a renewed emphasis on a land ethic, but this time with a global perspective. This has resulted in renewed support for an environmentalist paradigm. Such a model of resource management is perhaps best described in Global Bioethics (Potter, 1988), Our Common Future (The World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), and The Closing Circle (Commoner, 1971~. It holds that human beings and nature are interrelated, that humans are not superior to the natural world, but depend on the biosphere for their existence. The

OCR for page 13
GAP BEITYEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH 15 biosphere's resources are finite, and human activities must not destroy the biosphere's intricate workings. Human intervention into the global flows of energy and matter now equal or exceed the magnitude of natural processes (NRC, 1988~. Soil acidification, erosion, and declining production yields in several regions call to question the foresters' view of forests as renewable plantings. Simul- taneously, the continued decrease in biological diversity in our parks and preserves challenges the effectiveness of the set-aside approach to biolog- ical diversity conservation (National Parks and Conservation Association, 1989~. Simply setting areas of land aside for conservation and preservation will be inadequate to ensure the survival of certain species. Sustainability of forest production systems is of utmost importance, as is the maintenance of our biological diversity, environment, and aesthetic resources. Thus, the traditional models for natural resource management are inadequate. The new environmental paradigm will demand more of science than did its predecessors. The kind of forestry research we have been conducting will need to continue, but research priorities must be much broader. The breadth of forestry and the study of forest resources requires information and expertise that must include principles of basic biology, ecology, agri- culture, forest management, engineering, sociology, and economics. As an emerging discipline, conservation biology testifies to the need for tradi- tional institutions to respond more rapidly and effectively to the needs and challenges posed by those trying to bridge the gap between basic biology and applied research. An examination of the relationship between forestry and traditional agriculture is also informative. The most important similarities between forestry and agriculture are in our shared scientific roots botany, zo- ology, soil science, genetics, mycology, plant physiology and pathology, entomology, ecology, microbiology, and statistics. Silviculture is the scien- tific counterpart of horticulture or agronomy. Certain specialized fields of forestry, such as wildlife and fisheries biology, forest engineering, and forest economics, have profited from related scientific endeavors in animal hus- bandry, agricultural engineering, and agricultural economics. The flow of ideas between agriculture and forestry has been generally from agriculture to forests, largely because of the much larger investments in agricultural research. But critical differences exist between forestry and agriculture. Forests must be managed over very long periods of time (long rotation), whereas many agricultural products are harvested annually (short rotation). Because of the vast size of forests and their natural state, management necessarily tends to be extensive rather than highly intensive, as agricultural production is. Forestry generally manages for an array of different products and values

OCR for page 13
16 FORESTRY RESEARCH simultaneously; in agriculture, relatively few products are produced in a given area. Whereas agricultural fields are of human creation, most forests are essentially developed by natural systems. These natural processes are highly complex and can be very different from one forest area to the next. Over the past decade, both agriculture and forestry have been stress- ing the need to move to more environmentally sound (and therefore more sustainable) production practices for agriculture (NRC, 1989a) and man- agement practices for forestry. With this common goal of sustainability, scientists doing research in agriculture and forestry must interact more than in the past. FUNDING FOR FORESTRY RESEARCH In sharp contrast to the growing public perception of forests' impor- tance and real societal needs, forestry research is meagre (Merger et al., 1988) and declining in most sectors (Giese, 1988~. Funding is one measure of research vitality. To what extent is the forestry research enterprise being supported? Federal Sources of Support Federal research support comes primarily from the activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDAs) Forest Service (Chapman and Milliken, 1988) and secondarily from the McIntire-Stennis Act administered through the USDA:s Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS). These two sources usually account for more than 80 percent of the total federal expenditure specifically designated for forestry research. Other federal sources providing support for forestry research include the National Science Foundation (NSF), Hatch funds (which provide support to state agricultural experiment stations administered through CSRS), the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. USDA Forest Service. The Forest Service research budget has been steadily declining in purchasing power (Table 2-1~. Concomitantly, the amount of Forest Service support for extramural programs (money provided by the Forest Service to non-Forest Service research) has also decreased. As a direct result of these budget restrictions, the Forest Service has been forced not only to reduce the size of its scientific staff by 25 percent, but also to reduce the number of research facilities by 12 percent and research work units by 23 percent since 1978 Amble 2-1~. Not all areas in the Forest Service research budget are decreasing, however. The five main Forest Service forest research budget items are: forest protection, resource analysis, timber management, forest environ- ment research, and forest products and harvesting. Within these budget

OCR for page 13
GAP BETWEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH TABLE 2-1. Forestry Research Funding Statistics for the USDA Forest Service, 1977-88. 17 Appropriations Extramural funding Year (Million$) (Million $)Scientist- Research Research Actual 1982 Actual 1982 years locations work units 1978 88.4 122.1 11.0 15.2 962 86 247 1979 93.9 120.8 10.0 12.9 942 86 245 1980 95.9 111.3 10.6 12.3 964 86 248 1981 108.5 116.2 14.2 15.2 958 85 242 1982 112.1 112.1 10.8 10.8 908 83 235 1983 107.7 102.9 9.3 8.9 838 80 219 1984 109.4 99.5 7.7 7.0 813 76 207 1985 121.7 105.9 7.5 6.5 799 76 200 1986 120.1 101.5 10.4 8.8 734 76 199 1987 132.7 107.7 14.6 11.9 713 76 200 1988 135.5 105.2 18.3 14.2 724 76 190 SOURCE: B. Weber, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, 1989. items are six priority areas: global climate change, catastrophic forest fires, water quality, expanding economic opportunity through new wood prod- ucts, southern forest productivity, and threatened and endangered species. Each of these priority areas is expected to receive an increase in fiscal year (FY) 1990 over FY-1989 levels ranging from 35 percent for water quality research to 3 percent for research on catastrophic forest fires (USDA Forest Service, 1989~. Compared with other federally funded research programs, the Forest Service research budget is very small. For example, in 1988 the USDA:s Agricultural Research Service (an agency devoted to agricultural research) was funded at about $541 million, while Forest Service research received only about $135 million. Competitive Research Grants. One important source of funds that has come from the Forest Service budget is the competitive grants program ad- ministered by the Competitive Research Grants Office (CRGO) of CSRS. From 1985 until 1988, the Forest Service provided funds to CRGO to sup- port grants in forest biology and wood products research on a competitive basis. Funding decreased from $7.5 million in 1985 to $3 million in 1988. In 1989,-no funds were provided for this program. Through the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees, which act on the CSRS budget, this pro- gram will receive renewed funding at a level of approximately $4 million in FY-l990. In 1988, a consensus statement was developed that recommended

OCR for page 13
18 FORESTRY ~SE~CH the support of competitive grants in forestry research (published jointly by the Forest Service, the American Forest Council, and the National Associ- ation of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges). Groups involved in this consensus statement included trade associations, professional societies, and government agencies. In FY-1988, 235 proposals were received by the CRGO forestry pro- gram: 120 in forest biology and 115 in wood utilization. Although about half of all research proposals received were judged to have some merit by peer review, only 13 were funded in wood utilization and 9 in forest biology (only 20 percent of all meritorious proposals were funded) (CSRS, 1989~. In addition to the CRGO forestry program, other programs within CRGO and NSE; support some forestry-related research on a competitive basis. The total amount of competitive support for forestry research is less than $5 million annually. When this amount of competitive support is compared with the research needs described in Chapter 3, it is apparent that increases in research support are imperative. A substantial source of forestry-related research support comes from the NSF's Division of Biotic Systems and Resources (total budget of about $60 million in 1988~. Much of the research supported by this division could be applied to forestry research if scientists supported by NSF and scientists in traditional forestry disciplines interacted more. McInttre-Stennzs Funds. The McIntire-Stennis Act of 1962 provides financial support (based in part on matching funds) to public colleges and universities with forestry research and graduate programs for the long-term studies essential to advances in forest productivity. In addition to supporting scientists in forestry schools and colleges, McIntire-Stennis funds should be used to encourage other scientists to initiate forestry research. Currently, three major factors determine the proportion of funds a state will receive from this program. The first factor, weighted at 40 percent, is the proportion of acreage in commercial forest land; the second, also weighted at 40 percent, is the volume of roundwood produced; and the third, weighted at 20 percent, is the amount of nonfederal money spent on forest research. A certain amount of flexibility exists in this formula; for example, the weight of the factors is not mandated by law, but is set by the Secretary of Agriculture. A reevaluation of this formula based on the current status of forestry research would be appropriate. The McIntire-Stennis funding program is an effective leveraging scheme by which, for each federal dollar provided, five to six nonfed- eral dollars are spent (B. Post, CSRS, personal communication, 1989~. Except as indexed by matching dollars in forestry research, this mechanism was not designed to explicitly consider the research capability or quality of research programs at the participating institutions.

OCR for page 13
GAP BEITYEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH 19 McIntire-Stennis funds are not allowed to exceed 50 percent of the funds appropriated for forestry research for the Forest Service. And yet the appropriation is only 13 percent of the support provided to the For- est Service. Table 2-2 depicts the steady erosion of the buying power of McIntire-Stennis funds due to inflation. As seen in Able 2-3, the support provided by McIntire-Stennis for university research has been decreasing in purchasing power, from $13 million in annual expenditures in 1978 to only $11.9 million in 1988 (both in 1982 dollars). This situation, however, appears to be improving, with $17.5 million appropriated in 1988 (Ibble 2-24. (It is important to realize that budget numbers given in Table 2-2 are actual fiscal-year appropriations passed into law by Congress. Able 2-3, however, contains budget information on university expenditures that may cover money appropriated over several fiscal years.) In 1987, the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges recommended that McIntire-Stennis funding be increased to $25 million. The forest prod- ucts industry through the American Forest Council (AFC) also endorsed this recommendation (USDA, 1987~. Approximately 40 percent of the forestry research expenditures reported by CSRS goes to forest biology research compared with about 15 to 20 percent for forest products research (B. Post, CSRS, personal communication, 1989~. Another source of formula funds is the Hatch Act, which is used to support research to promote sound and prosperous agriculture and rural life. In FY 88, approximately $147 million of Hatch Act funds were used to support research [as reported to the Current Research Information System TABLE 2-2. McIntire-Stennis Fund Appropriations, 1978-1988. Appropriations (Million $) Year Actual 1982 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 9.5 9.5 10.0 10.8 12.0 12.5 12.7 13.1 12.4 12.4 175 13.1 12.2 11.6 115 12.0 11.9 11.6 11.4 10.5 10.1 13.6 SOURCE: W. Murphey, USI)A Cooperative State Research Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, 1989.

OCR for page 13
20 FORESTRY RESEARCH TABLE 2-3. Source of Annual Expenditures on Forestry Research at Universities, 1977-88 (in millions of dollars). Federal percent Year McIntire-Stennis Total federal Nonfederalof total Actual 1982 Actual 1982 Actual 1982 (1982) 1978 9.4 13.0 21.4 30.0 30.1 41.6 42 1979 9.3 12.0 22.4 28.8 34.2 44.0 40 1980 95 11.0 25.4 295 41.9 48.6 38 1981 10.1 10.8 27.9 29.9 45.5 48.7 38 1982 11.0 11.0 28.4 28.4 48.4 48.4 37 1983 11.4 10.9 26.7 255 46.7 44.6 37 1984 11.8 10.7 25.3 23.0 49.5 45.0 34 1985 11.8 10.3 25.9 22.5 55.4 48.2 32 1986 11.4 9.6 30.7 26.0 65.0 54.9 32 1987 11.4 9.3 285 23.1 65.9 53.5 30 1988 15.3 11.9 36.2 28.1 70.3 54.6 34 SOURCE: W. Murphey, USDA Cooperative State Research Service, Washington, D.C., personal communication, 1989. (CRISP, of which only $3.2 million went to support forestry research (W. Murphey, CSRS, personal communication, 1990~. State Sources of Support Individual states are the major supporters of forestry research at the nonfederal forestry research institutions, which are predominantly members of the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges. State funding currently constitutes about two thirds of total university support for forestry research and has increased slightly in response to decreased federal support. State funding accounted for about 12 percent of all forestry research support in 1977 and increased to 20 percent in 1986 (Giese, 1988~. A summary of support for forestry research at universities expressed as annual expenditures in various categories reported through CRIS can be seen in Figure 2-1. Industrial Sources of Support The extent of industrial forestry research is difficult to estimate ac- curately. Estimates generally range between $50 million and $100 million per year, but these do not include funds for products research (American Forest Council Research Committee, personal communication, 1989~. It is clear, however, that few companies support internal research programs, especially forest biology research. Fewer than 12 companies have internal

OCR for page 13
GAP BETWEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH 1 978 MCINTIRE-STENNIS $13 / NON-FEDERAL $41 .6 OTHER FEDERAL $17 21 1 988 MCI NTI RE-STENN IS ~1 1 C) ~ ~ OTHER FEDERAL 14% ,' ma. $16.2 NON-FEDERAL $54.6 FIGURE 2-1 Annual expenditures on university forestry programs in millions of constant 1982 dollars as reported to the Current Research Info~l.ation System (CRIS). (Constructed from data in liable 2-3.) biology research programs (R. Slocum, North Carolina Forestry Associa- tion, personal communication, 1987~. It has been estimated that in-house industry research programs have decreased by 50 percent over the past five years (Giese, 1988~. However, industry has been active in forming university-industIy research cooperatives (AFC, 19874. Survey results pub- lished in 1987 indicate that of the 51 responding schools, 19 had research cooperatives with industry. These cooperatives have $5.2 million in funding, of which industry provides $2.5 million (AFC, 1987~. Private Universities and Foundations as Funding Sources Other sources of research support are private universities and foun- dations. In 1987 and early 1988, approximately $134 million was spent on environmental law, protection, and education (Foundation Center, 1989~. Of this $134 million, approximately $27 million is characterized by the Foun- dation Center as being spent on research. Much of this money, however, is not spent directly on research that can be classified as academic research- that is, research that might be associated with a university. Approximately 80 grants from private foundations listed forestry as a specific subject area, and more than 200 grants listed natural resources conservation. Examples of major supporters of this research include the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the J. N. Pew, Jr., Charitable Trust. Support for forestry programs at private universities, such as those at Duke, Harvard, and Yale, comes predominantly from nonfederal (such as private foundations) and competitive sources and from endowment funds.

OCR for page 13
22 FORESTRY RESEARCH Organization of Research Funding Major changes are needed in the organization of research funding to facilitate creative research. At present, formula funding through state or federal sources or through the Forest Service provides most of the funds for public research. Although much of this support is needed for long- term programs, significant increases are needed for new programs that are investigator-initiated, such as peer-reviewed competitive grants. Peer review provides a necessary incentive for research that is novel, competent, and creative. Currently barriers stand before more effective research. Examples of these barriers include the following. Forest scientists working for the federal government are not allowed to apply for competitive grants from certain other agencies, such as the National Science Foundation; scientists working for any agency should be allowed to compete on merit for competitive funds from any agency. . Forestry research is sometimes not included in other basic sci- ence funding programs; where the research areas are appropriate, forestry research should not be excluded. Nonforestry scientists have little opportunity to compete for funds that are currently awarded on a noncompetitive basis to forestry scientists; what is needed is a more open and competitive approach that would provid funds previously available to traditional forest scientists as well as provide more access to nonforest~y scientists to work on forestry-related problems. Extension Forestry Forestry extension is the primary mechanism in the United States for technology transfer from research programs to users traditionally private forestland owners. As with other extension programs, forestry extension is a cooperative activity among the federal government, states, and coun- ties. The relationships among the various cooperators in forestry research and extension have recently been examined (Rogers et al., 19~. This report recommends major changes in the way universities, government agencies, and other organizations interact to improve technology transfer in renewable resources. Forestry extension is supported, in part, by the federal government through the activities of the Smith-Lever Act, which provides formula funding to states for all extension activities, and through the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA), which targets money specifically for extension efforts on renewable resources including forestry. In 1988, the total amount spent by the federal government on extension in natural resources programs was only $9.7 million, compared with $345 million in the total extension budget (D. E. Nelson, Extension Service, personal communication, 1989~. In 1988, RREA received only $2.8 million

OCR for page 13
GAP BETWEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH 23 of the $15 million authorized under the RREA legislation (D. E. Nelson, [Extension Service, personal communication, 1989~. In addition to direct support, the funds provided through RREA are effective at leveraging about $2 dollars from nonfederal sources for every dollar spent by the federal government (USDA Extension Service, 1986~. In 1985, 573 full-time equivalents (LlE;s) were in the cooperative extension system's natural resources programs (USDA Extension Service, 1986~. Of these, 258 were in forestland management, 79 in rangeland management, 131 in wildlife and fisheries management, 39 in outdoor recreation, and 66 in environmental quality and public policy. In just the forestland management category, an estimated 200 FTEs need to be added to address future extension needs adequately (Backiel, 1986~. An exten- sion area that requires special attention is urban forestry. On the basis of the latest data available (1979), only 24 states had extension programs in urban forestry, and only about 19 ~ Lois serviced those programs (Science and Education Administration, 1980~. In addition, new challenges posed by potential environmental changes present forestry extension with a wide array of new areas that need to be addressed, such as forest management under potentially changing climatic conditions and the preservation of bio- logical diversity. Incorporating advances made through biotechnology will also require new approaches and special attention for example, public education on the potential benefits and risks posed by introducing new ge- netically modified organisms into forest ecosystems. The future of forestry extension is clearly broader and more complex than its past. Many of these activities will require a host of new experts and extension specialists as well as creative new methods of technology transfer and public education. THE STATUS OF FORESTRY EDUCATION AND INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP The Production of Ph.D.s Since the late 1970s, the number of students earning Ph.D.s in forestry has not increased significantly. From 1984 to 1988, an average of 98 Ph.D.s were granted each year, up slightly from an average of 86 per year between 1979 and 1982 (NRC, 1989d). Of the 106 Ph.D.s awarded in 1988, 13 were awarded to women and 24 were awarded to non-U.S. citizens with temporary residency status. Of the 82 Ph.D.s awarded to U.S. citizens, only 5 were awarded to members of minority groups. Areas allied to forestry include fisheries science, wildlife management, and ecology, where 42, 39, and 155 Ph.D.s were awarded in 1988 (NRC, l989d). Undergraduate degrees in forestry have decreased to approximately 50 percent of their number in the late 1970s (Society of American Foresters, 1988~.

OCR for page 13
24 FORESTRY RESEARCH When academic and nonacademic forestry groups were surveyed to de- termine the major issues in forestry education, the following were regarded as most important (Forestry Education Problem-Assessment Steering Com- mittee, 1987~: the need to attract high~uality students, the need to maintain and improve teaching quality, the need to move away from technician-type courses to more analytical, decision-making, conflict-resolution types of courses, reduced employment opportunities, the lack of a clear definition of the forester's role. These issues are clearly interrelated. For example, to attract more students of high quality, attention must be paid to teaching quality, curriculum issues, and future employment. Perhaps the most important issue is the need for a clearer definition of the mission of colleges and departments of forestry. An important objective for those concerned with forest science should be the establishment of an intellectual environment that fosters excellence, provides rigorous education, and attracts specialists from nonforestry back- grounds. With a clearer definition, the rest of the issues relating to forestry education can be adequately addressed. 1b acquire the necessary information base through research will require an increase in intellectual resources devoted to forestry research. This increase should occur within the next five years if research needs are to be adequately met. Because of funding constraints, the forest science community does not now have the human resources to do the research our nation requires. Thus, a great need exists for increased numbers of forest scientists as well as for a change in their education. This increase could be accomplished, in part, by recruiting and educating scientists from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in forestry research, such as women and members of minority groups. One approach to rapidly increasing intellectual resources is to pro- mote interdisciplinary research. Research programs that recruit scientists from related disciplines provide new technology and different research approaches. One such opportunity lies in increasing the interaction of traditional forest biology with molecular biology. Traditional forest biology has a large number of well-defined problems, such as understanding and manipulating disease resistance genes, that would be advanced significantly if it could integrate the technology of plant molecular biology with the forest sciences. Other examples of needed research integration are in the areas of atInosphere-biosphere interactions, mathematical modeling, and ecosystem science.

OCR for page 13
GAP BETWEEN NEEDS AND RESEARCH Intellectual Leadership in Conservation 25 Over the past several decades, the forestry profession has lost its leadership role in the conservation movement in this country. In the first half of this century, many of the leaders in the conservation movement were professional foresters and many were researchers. They not only created a vision based on '`the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run," they proposed that the vision be met through "scientific forestry." They persuaded the public of the validity of their approach. Today few public opinion leaders who help shape policy on natural resources are professional foresters, and even fewer are researchers. While foresters are accused of having sold out to commercial interests, others (often from narrow special-interest groups) are leading in the reshaping of the conservation movement and of forest-related policy. If forestry research is to remain relevant to the conservation and management of natural resources, forestry researchers must reassume some of the leadership of the conservation movement. They must regain public trust and strive to educate the public so that it may wisely influence the formation of forestry and natural resources policy. The power of modern science and technology can be brought to bear on natural resource issues only if policy allows it. This is unlikely to occur unless the forestry profession exerts leadership. Employment Approximately 50 percent of new Ph.D.s in the forest sciences are employed by universities, while 6 and 7 percent are employed by the Forest Service and industry, respectively (Forestry Education Problem- Assessment Steering Committee, 1987~. Between 1978 and 1988, the number of scientist-years in the Forest Service has been reduced by 25 percent- from 962 to 724 scientist-years (1bble 2-1~. During that time, uni- versity scientist-years have decreased by roughly 8 percent (Giese, 1988~. In general, the demand for forestry Ph.D.s in government, industry, and universities is slight. In addition to forestry Ph.D.s, scientists without traditional forestry backgrounds are being hired to fill research positions. However, the demand for these scientists is also low in the forestry research community. This low level of employment demand does not reflect the need for forestry research. The committee believes that the decrease in demand for forestry Ph.D.s is a symptom of short-sighted funding perspectives that fail to address many of society's needs adequately. In fact, even if the recommendations of this report are implemented, the current production of forestry research scientists will remain inadequate. Furthermore, the need will increase for Ph.D.s with expertise in areas such as geographic

OCR for page 13
26 FORESTRY RESEARCH information systems (GIS), molecular biology, forest policy, ecology, and landscape management, to name a few. In addition, scientists with an in- ternational perspective especially on tropical regions will be in demand. It is important to keep in mind that the quality of these new scientists will need to be high to meet the challenges that forestry research is facing now and will face in the future.