The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request would trim funding for United States Forest Service (USFS) research by 0.8 percent (-$2.5 million), but the overall USFS budget would grow slightly. The President has requested $4.9 billion for the agency, $15.5 million more than the current budget.

Forest Service research provides scientific information and new technologies to support sustainable management of the nation’s forests and rangelands. These products and services increase the basic biological and physical knowledge of the composition, structure, and function of forest, rangeland, and aquatic ecosystems. The agency is currently focused on seven research priorities: forest disturbances, forest inventory and analysis, watershed management and restoration, bioenergy and biobased products, urban natural resources stewardship, nanotechnology, and localized needs research.

Nearly all research programs are targeted for reductions. The largest cut would be taken from invasive species R&D (-$2.5 million, -6.9 percent). The USFS plans to reduce research on the most thoroughly studied pests and pathogens, as well as research on preventing and mitigating invasive species, in order to maintain research on the highest priority invasive species.

Other proposed reductions include wildlife and fish R&D (-5.1 percent) and water, air, and soil R&D (-3.1 percent). According to the Forest Service’s budget: “The request will reduce studies on traditional game and fish species with a refocusing of funds for long term monitoring protocols and models for wildlife and aquatic habitat to assess risk from environmental change.”

Notably, inventorying and monitoring R&D would receive $3.5 million in new funding (+4.7 percent). The Resource Management and Use research program would be flat funded. In 2013, the program would focus research on bioenergy and climate change adaptation.


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