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U.S. Forest Service research : its administration and management

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  • Biology
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The U.S. Forest Service administers the world's largest forestry research organization. From its modest beginning in 1876, some 30 years before the United States national forest system was established, the research branch has devoted its effort to meet current and future information needs of the forestry community of the United States, not just for the U.S. Forest Service. The research branch is one of three major administrative units of the U.S. Forest Service. The others being the National Forest System and State and Private Forestry. Currently the National Forest System comprises 155 national forests, 19 national grasslands, and 18 utilization projects located in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The National Forest System manages these areas for a large array of uses and benefits including timber, water, forage, wildlife, recreation, minerals, and wilderness. It is through the State and Private Forestry branch that the U.S Forest Service cooperates and coordinates forestry activities and programs with state and local governments, forest industries, and private landowners. These activities include financial and technical assistance in disease, insect, and fire protection ; plan forestry programs improve harvesting and marketing practices and transfer forestry research results to user groups. Forestry research is carried out through eight regional Forest Experiment Stations and the Forest Product Laboratory. Studies are maintained at 70 administrative sites, and at 115 experimental forest and grasslands. All of the current sciences that composed modern forestry are included in the research program. These range from forest biology (i. e . silviculture, ecology, physiology, and genetics)to the physical, mathematical, engineering, managerial, and social sciences. The levels of research range from application, developmental, and basic research. Research planning and priority identification is an ongoing process with elements of the research program changing to meet shortterm critical imformation needs (i.e. protection research) to longterm opportunities (i.e. biotechnology). Research planning and priority setting is done in cooperation with National Forest Systems, forest industries, universities, and individual groups such as environmental, wilderness, or wildlife organizaions. There is an ongoing review process of research administration, organization, and science content to maintain quality of research. In the U.S. Forest Service the research responsibility is not completed until the new information is being applied by the various user group i.e. technology transfer program. Research planning and development in the U.S. Forest Service is a dynamic activity. Porgrams for the year 2000 and beyond are now in the planning stage.

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