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4 Conclusions and Recommendations The preceding chapters report some of the diverse activities and needs of forestry research. We have described research on wood as a raw ma- terial and in basic biology, ecology, sociology, and economics and policy. Although forestry research is at least as complex as agricultural research, to which it is closely related, forestry research cannot be subsumed under what has been traditionally viewed as agricultural research, but must be viewed as having values for society that are broader than and distinct from those of traditional agriculture (National Task Force on Basic Research in Forestry and Renewable Natural Resources, 1983~. In this chapter, we pro- vide several broad conclusions and attendant recommendations concerning the nature of forestry research, human resources, ways of maximizing the benefits from forestry research, and support for forestry research. THE NATURE OF FORESTRY RESEARCH More Scientists Should Do Forestry Research Conclusion. For forestry research to be of sufficient quality and quan- tity to solve critical societal problems, it must embrace more areas of sci- ence. These include not only such expected areas as biology, hydrology, and engineering, but also economics and sociology. Conclusion. Forestry research is overly fragmented by disciplines that interact insufficiently. Interaction must not only increase among traditional 50
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 51 forestry disciplines within colleges of forestry, but also among disciplines within colleges of agriculture and colleges of arts and sciences. This need for increased disciplinary interaction coupled with increases in the cost of research facilities, the specialization of scientists, and the diversity of sponsors and clients argues for aggregation and integration of forestry research. Conclusion. With numerous advisory committees representing orga- nizational research interests, leadership in forestry research has been frag- mented. Government agencies and other organizations responsible for research activities can obtain policy advice from a wide variety of sources, such as internal advisory committees at various levels within a department's hierarchy. Research organizations can also draw upon other groups, such as the National Research Council, for advice. Because of the broad range of research organizations and clientele of forestry research, none of the existing forestry advisory committees has adequately met the needs of the forestry research community in general. Recommendations: · Provide a vastly expanded funding mechanism, such as competitive grants, to support scientists now doing forestry research and to attract additional ones. · Strengthen and broaden the teaching of forestry to attract a broader array of students, especially at the graduate level, and to interest other on- campus research groups. . Establish a National Forestry Research Council (NFEtC) to pro- vide a forum for deliberations on forestry research and policy issues. The NFRC should be convened under the auspices of an organization or or- ganizations that can facilitate discussion and action. Financial support for the council's activities should come from member organizations and other interested sponsors. The NFRC should consist of representatives from major organizations such as government agencies, industry, conservation organizations, private foundations, and academia- with strong interests in forests and related renewable natural resources and in agriculture. The NFRC would commission studies, conduct analyses, and provide advice to policymakers on issues pertaining to those interests. · Encourage conservation groups and other nongovernmental orga- nizations to more actively support basic forestry teaching and research through the activities of the proposed NFEtC. Concision. Coordination and integration with other research scien- tists should be increased. The proposed NFEtC could provide leadership and a forum for coordination and integration. In addition, integration can
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52 FORESTRY RESEARCH be achieved by creating centers of emphasis on research in the five areas of research discussed in this report (biology of forest organisms; ecosystem function and management; human-forest interactions; wood as a raw mate- rial; and international trade, competition, and cooperation). The creation of a center of emphasis does not necessarily require the construction of a new research facility. It does require, however, a cooperative mechanism for research that allows scientists to interact in a manner that enhances their productivity. In addition, Forest Service scientists could be routinely placed within university academic units, such as departments of botany and zoology, as well as within schools of forestry. A successful model for this type of integration is that commonly used by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Recommendation: . Create centers of scientific emphasis involving major participants in forestry research for each of the five research areas discussed in this report. More than one center could be established for each of the five research areas, depending on the particular interests and strengths of the proposed center's participants. Result. Benefits derived from a broader definition of forest research and the inclusion of nontraditional research pursuits will include increased relevance to society as a whole, higher intellectual achievement resulting from broader spheres of influence, enhanced attractiveness of the profession to talented scientists, and increased political support for research programs. The consequences of failing to incorporate these pursuits and personnel into the forest research establishment will be great: They will include not only the decreased quality of forestry science and technology, but also further erosion of public confidence in the relevance of forestry to society. Adopt a New Approach to Forestry Research Conclusion. 1b help overcome a deficiency in knowledge, a new re- search paradigm will need to be adopted an environmental paradigm. Past approaches to forestry research employing the conservation and preserva- tion paradigms have proven inadequate. Conclusion. Many issues such as biological diversity, cumulative ef- fects of pollutants, and land use or land management must be addressed at very large spatial scales and over long periods of time. Research at the scale of landscapes and regions will involve changes in the way forestry re
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 53 search is performed, including new mapping technology, collaboration with managers and user groups, creative experimental approaches, and evalua- tion procedures that differ dramatically from those of traditional forestry research. Conclusion. Most of the research needs highlighted in this report are as relevant to tropical as they are to temperate forestry. Research related to deforestation and loss of biological diversity are especially relevant to the tropics, but forestry research should derive principles that apply across bioclimatic zones. Recommendations: o Establish research-management collaborations at large spatial scales with an environmental perspective. This will require multidisciplinary activities on large tracts of land. · Establish long-term forestry research (LTFEt) grants to provide a peer-reviewed, competitive funding mechanism for long-term research support (longer than one forest rotation). Result. Scientists and managers will collaborate to develop, install, test, and revise practices on large blocks of land, each block unique in its set of environmental and social conditions. HUMAN RESOURCES Conclusion. A critical need exists for the forestry research and policy community to open its ranks to participation by scientists who are often not now considered forest scientists. Contemporary issues, such as sustainable development, the role of forests in global carbon balance and global warm- ing, acid rain, and the preservation of biological diversity, illustrate the need for scientific expertise inadequately represented by traditional forest science. Conclusion. 16 meet future demands for research and education, a large number of well-educated scientists, technicians, extension specialists, and educators are needed. To help meet the future need for talented scientists, significantly more women and members of minority groups must be recruited into forestry research. Conclusion. Forestry education should be restructured to place more emphasis on fundamental research tools.
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54 Recommendations: . FORESTRY RESEARCH Enhance the quality of forestry research by opening it to the broader scientific community and encourage increased participation by scientists currently within the community. · Establish a program to provide doctoral fellowships on a competi- tive basis for all areas of forest and environmental sciences. The program should be designed to attract the highest caliber of students possible and to provide numbers of scientists with appropriate skills to meet impending needs. This program should be supported at a rate of $5 million per year, which will support a total of 200 doctoral fellows per year for 5 years (40 new fellowships awarded each year). . Develop a cadre of forest and related scientists that reflect the national and global population composition and that are equipped to solve domestic, international, and global problems. A recruitment program for women and members of minority groups should be directed toward high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels and should provide internships and fellowships (as part of the doctoral fellowship program). Result. With the addition of scientists from broader cultural and scientific backgrounds, forestry research will become more relevant to the needs of society, more interactive with other scientific disciplines, and more productive in developing the needed base of information for making better decisions on natural resource policies. MAXIMIZE THE BENEFITS FROM INCREASED FORESTRY RESEARCH Conclusion. The demand for scientifically based information and ex- pert opinion on environmental issues and human-forest interactions will continue to increase. Forest scientists are responsible for keeping the pub- lic informed about the status of forests and global environmental issues. Forest scientists need (1) to improve their communication of research re- sults to the public and natural resource professionals and (2) to increase their assistance and involvement in the formulation of policy. Recommendations: . Incorporate an outreach component into research projects to com- municate results to a broader range of clients. · Establish a professional reward system to acknowledge the validity of efforts of scientists involved in outreach. · Scientists should assume a leadership role in communicating their knowledge to those involved in poligy-making.
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 55 Conclusion. A strengthened program in forestry research requires a greatly strengthened and reorganized companion extension outreach effort. The broadening of program directions into areas as diverse as urban forestry and molecular biology will require additional support and a larger and more diverse cadre of extension specialists capable of communicating ideas as well as techniques. Extension forestry is an important mechanism for technolog r transfer and education, particularly to nonindustrial forest landowners, natural resource professionals, policymakers, city planners, and the public. The present extension forestry infrastructure is inadequate to serve current or future needs. For example, the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA), passed in 1978, has been funded at only about 20 percent of its authorization level. Recommendations: · Double the base level of funding and number of full-time equiv- alents (Fobs) devoted to forestry extension in cooperation with state and local partners. Increase RREA funding to the appropriation authorization level of $15 million dollars annually. · Integrate extension specialists with their research counterparts at colleges and universities in those instances where interaction between ex- tension specialists and research scientists is inadequate. Result. With adequate knowledge and technology transfer mecha- nisms, the results of forestry research can inform and instruct a broader clientele, including natural resource professionals, youth, policymakers, urban dwellers, conservation organizations, and the public. SUPPORT FOR FORESTRY RESEARCH lathe recommendations contained in this section are based on the com- mittee's own study and knowledge of the U.S. forestry research system, on interviews with additional scientists, and on documents the commit- tee received from forestry-associated research organizations. The funding increases recommended in this report reflect the committee's experience in and concern about the current status and future prospects of forestry research in the United States. Equipment and Facilities Conclusion. The committee believes that the physical facilities and research equipment at many forestry research stations and forestry colleges
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56 FORESTRY RESEARCH are inadequate. Other reports assessing the status of equipment in biology (NIH, 1985) and agriculture (Biggs et al., 1989) have drawn similar conclu- sions. Laboratories lack essential resources to carry out state-of-the-art re- search in the forest sciences. For example, facilities and equipment needed include electron and video-enhanced microscopes, computers, geographic information systems, greenhouses, and plant-growth facilities. Funding has been inadequate to keep pace with changing technology; therefore research and teaching are not up to date. Recommendation: · Conduct a national assessment of the current status of equipment and facilities needed to carry out the research described in this report. Funding Conclusion. Recommendations for increases in funding for forestry research come at a time of overall fiscal constraint for the nation. Govern- ment officials must both reduce the national debt and set priorities among competing federal expenditures to enact programs that maintain the wel- fare, infrastructure, security, and continued economic growth of the United States. As a part of that endeavor, they must also address public concerns for maintaining global competitiveness and environmental resources. The goal of reducing expenditures while allocating funds for essential programs thus requires fiscal prudence. The committee recognizes that current federal budgetary constraints make new funds for research support exceedingly difficult to obtain. Mean- ingful increases in research support for forestry and forestry-related re- search will likely be realized only as a result of changes in funding priorities within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Depart- ment of the Interior. As outlined in this report, the need to make these changes in funding priorities is urgent if future forests and related renew- able natural resources are to be protected from misuse and environmental degradation and if productivity is to be enhanced. Conclusion. The largest centrally administered forestry research bud- get is that of the USDA Forest Service. Therefore, if forestry research is to be reshaped and augmented as described above, changes in this budget are imperative. Additional changes in other forest research funding mech- anisms, such as McIntire-Stennis and USDA competitive grants, are also imperative. Funds available through such programs as McIntire-Stennis should be used in creative new ways and to a greater extent to attract relevant scientists from outside forestry schools and colleges. Competitive
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 57 grants should allow for research flexibility to fund both short-term (2 to 5 years) and long-term (7 to 10 years, or longer than one forest rotation) research programs. Conclusion. Both the Forest Service and the Cooperative State Re- search Service of the USDA need to compensate for losses in research support caused by budget cuts and inflation and should play leading roles in establishing centers of emphasis. Industry, state, and private sources of support should also contribute to this effort. Recommendations: · Increase USDA competitive grants for the five major research areas discussed in this report with a provision for LTF~ grants. 1b cover the five areas (the biology of forest organisms; ecosystem function and management; human-forest interactions; wood as a raw material; and international trade, competition, and cooperation), approximately $100 million annually will be necessary. A logical basis for this type of competitive financial support is through the current research funding initiative proposed by the NRC's Board on Agriculture (NRC, 1989c). The Board on Agriculture report defines agriculture to include forestry and related areas. As proposed, this initiative identifies natural resources and the environment as one of six program areas that need increased funding. Four other identified program areas (plant systems; animal systems; engineering, products, and processes; and trade, marketing, and policy) are directly related to the forestry research described in this report. The total amount requested in the Board on Agriculture research initiative for USDA competitive grants is $500 million annually. Traditionally, however, forestry research has not been granted proper status in the USDA competitive grants programs. Therefore, for forestry and forestry-related research to be adequately supported by the results of the Board on Agriculture research initiative, changes in funding philosophy must take place within the USDA. · Increase the USDA Forest Service research budget by 10 percent each year for the next five years. These new funds should be allocated among the five research program areas discussed in the report. With these five successive annual increments, the Forest Service research budget will expand from its 1988 level of $135 million lo $218 million after five years. · Increase McIntire-Stennis funds over the next five years to the full authorization level of 50 percent of the Forest Service budget. These new funds should also be allocated among the same five research program areas discussed in the present report. With these five successive annual increments, McIntire-Stennis funding will expand from its 1988 level of $17.5 million to $109 million after five years.
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58 FORESTRY RESEARCH Result. These three recommendations for increased federal support for forestry research will provide for orderly growth from the present $187 million annually to a total after five years of $427 million annually. After five years, this will mean that annual investments in forestry research will have reached about 20 percent of the total of about $2.5 billion for all agricultural research, after addition of the $500 million competitive grants program recommended in the Board on Agriculture funding initiative (NRC, 1989c). If these modifications in the forestry research funding are made, forest scientists will be able to provide better advice to the American public on the management of our nation's forests; industry will have a far greater data base from which to improve wood production practices and new forest products; and society in general will benefit from improved global environmental management. SUMMARY Forestry research must change radically if it is to help meet national and global needs. It must become broader in its clients, participants, and the problems it examines, and at the same time it must conduct more in-depth research and become more rigorous in utilizing all of science and technology. The number of scientists and amount of resources devoted to forestry research are declining, even as needs increase. To meet the challenge of rapid change, new approaches and new resources of the kind described in this report are required. The educational and fiscal systems that support forestry research must be restructured and revitalized; integrated research facilities must be created where public and private resources can be concentrated on basic questions, new technologies, and effective outreach and extension activities. These changes will be expensive, difficult, and painful for many. They will be painful in that research resources will need lo be redirected and certain research facilities may need to be closed. The consequence of failing to make the changes, however, would be even more painful: a national and global society increasingly unable to presence and manage forest resources for its own benefit and for the benefit of future generations. We emphasize here that both the misuse and the wise use of forests are consequences of human activity. In the absence of policy alternatives provided by a large increment of knowledge resulting from forestry research, the misuse exemplified by deforestation, destroyed productive potential, and lost biological diversity will prevail. Knowledge gained from an improved system of forestry research will enable society to choose wise use and thus to secure the environmental, economic, and spiritual benefits of forests.
Representative terms from entire chapter: