Technology & Development Centers

About the Technology and Development Centers

Helicopter dropping retardant from it's bucket.

The Forest Service operates two Technology and Development (T&D) centers aimed at applying technology and equipment to improve business practices and at keeping employees safe while working in a forest environment. The T&D centers are located in San Dimas, CA (SDTDC), and Missoula, MT (MTDC). Their primary purpose is support of Forest Service internal activities; therefore, they provide products and services exclusively to Forest Service employees and cooperating agencies. Currently, T&D projects relate to fire and aviation management, engineering (facilities, transportation, environmental), forest management, reforestation, nurseries, recreation, safety and health, forest health protection, watershed and air management, explosives, global positioning systems, posters and signs, inventory and monitoring and Forest Service uniforms. For more information view the T&D Program presentation.

Photo of a man holding a hawk scarifier.Since 1981, the T&D centers have been detached units of the engineering staff in the Forest Service's Washington Office. Essentially, they are small professional/technical units with expertise represented in disciplines such as civil, mechanical, aerospace, electronic, and logging engineering; and recreation, forestry, and social science. Equipment specialists, engineering technicians, and publications and other personnel also provide technical and administrative support to the T&D centers. In addition, some project work is accomplished through associate staff (Forest Service employees on other units), professional services contracts, and agreements with other agencies.

The T&D Program uses technology to solve resource management problems having national significance in partnership with other Federal, State, and international agencies; private industry; academia; and consultants. The T&D program was born out of need and has expanded over the years from an emphasis on fire-related development to incorporate all Forest Service programs. As the Forest Service changes to incorporate all aspects of its mission ("Caring for the Land and Serving People"), the T&D Program is prepared to continue the development of necessary technology, equipment, and information to provide the best scientific knowledge for making decisions in the management of resources.

T&D History


Photo of a mobile rock crusher.

The Forest Service Technology and Development (formerly Equipment Development and Testing) Program began shortly after World War II. Its mission is:

The systematic application of scientific knowledge to create new or substantially improved equipment, systems, materials, processes, techniques, and procedures to meet the objectives of advanced forest management and utilization.

The centers started with a focus on fire and aviation management. The southern California center spearheaded an effort to standardize fire equipment; the western Montana center concentrated on improving equipment for parachuting firefighters and their cargo onto the perimeter of wildland fires. In 1961, the decision was made to broaden the charter of both centers to consider all national forest problems. In October 1987, the name was changed from "Equipment Development and Testing" to "Technology and Development (T&D) Program" because this more accurately described the mission. As resource management became more complex, the problems the centers were asked to solve became more diverse, and solutions were not always equipment-oriented.



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