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Research Topics

Forest Service Research & Development (R&D) conducts highly integrated research at all scales — watershed, landscape, regional, and national — to address problems of environmental and social concern. R&D scientists aim to provide knowledge and tools to managers and decision-makers to assist in the sustainable management and use of our Nation's natural resources.

link to Research Highlights

Research Highlights provide a comprehensive overview of the diverse research activities the Forest Service carries out across the US and in foreign countries. Explore summaries of R&D research organized into topic areas, primary investigators, research stations, and years.



Research Support

Forest Service research relies on two foundational elements: an expanded Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and a network of Experimental Forests & Ranges (EFR).

  • FIA - a congressionaly mandated census of all US forests currently active in all 50 states.
  • EFRs - an integrated network of long-term research locations addressing continental-scale environmental change in both rural and urban areas.

R&D research is organized into the primary topics listed below.

Climate Change: Adaptation research to improve the resiliency of forests, rangelands, and aquatic areas and to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on trees, forests, and forest ecosystems.

Fire & Fuel: Focuses on reducing the negative and enhancing the beneficial effects of fire. This includes prediction, planning, decision support, impact assessment, and recovery.

Forest Products: Research on wood use and market innovations. This includes biomass & bioenergy and nanotechnology.

Invasive Species: Reduces, minimizes, or eliminates the introduction, establishment, spread, and effects of invasive species.

Inventory, Monitoring & Assessment: Identifies current status and trends of forests; management options and effects; and threats and their effects on the Nation's forests and grasslands species.

Outdoor Recreation: Examines to understand and manage outdoor environments, activities, and experiences that connect people with the natural world.

Resource Management & Use: Explores forest and range resources and products, including Agroforestry, Landscape Science, Management & Operations and Watershed Management & Restoration.

Water, Air & Soil: Enables clear air and safe drinking water, protection of lives and property from wildfire and smoke, and adapting to climate variability and change.

Wildlife & Fish: Investigates the complex interactions among species, ecocsystem dynamics and processes, land use and management, and emerging threats.

Urban Forest Sustainability: Research for the management, protection, and care of urban natural resources to improve people's lives.