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    Description

    Current trends in the nation’s forest-sector research capacity were analyzed in terms of funding and number of scientists, and compared with prior data in the National Research Council’s 2002 report, National Capacity in Forestry Research. The total number of professors at institutions accredited by the Society of American Foresters, research scientists at the USDA Forest Service, and forest researchers in forest industry decreased approximately 12 percent since 2002. In 2016, there were an estimated 1,224 professors and 540 Forest Service research scientists, for a total of 1,764 scientists. Total estimated research funding in 2015 for universities, private sector, and USDA Forest Service, including appropriations from federal grant programs from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Energy was US$598 million—a nominal increase over 2002, but a decrease when accounting for inflation. The proportion of reported scientists’ disciplines shifted notably from production subjects to broader ecosystem services and forest health subjects, as well as from more applied to more fundamental or basic research. The data indicated that the nation’s forest research capacity continues to erode, leading to declines in research development and innovation, and putting at increasing risk the future health and productivity of America’s forests.

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    Citation

    McGinley, Kathleen A; Guldin, Richard W; Cubbage, Frederick W. 2019. Forest Sector Research and Development Capacity. Journal of Forestry. 14(2): 369-. https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvz030.

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    Keywords

    forest research, research capacity, research funding, forestry, forest products, United States

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/58263