The nation’s forest and grassland ecosystems play key roles in mitigating climate change, sustaining biodiversity, supplying clean water and air, and meeting our needs for food, fiber, and fuel. Ecology is the interdisciplinary study of relationships between and among populations of organisms, their habitats, and the flows of energy, nutrients, and other resources. This area of science is fundamental for developing an improved understanding of ecosystem function and enhanced tools and techniques to restore and conserve our forest and grassland ecosystems.
Forest Service researchers collect long-term data on ecosystem structure and function as well as status and trends in key ecosystem processes. They develop novel ways to collect and display ecological information, advance techniques to simulate ecological processes and predict outcomes, and identify modern approaches to restore and maintain ecosystems damaged by legacy management or new stresses. This work is done to better inform forest and grassland management decision-making.