The FY 2015 budget request proposes that funding for Forest Service research should decrease by 6.0 percent to $275.3 million, whereas the agency’s overall budget would decline by 2.6 percent. The Forest and Rangeland Research division would lose 114 employees as a result.
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 basic biological and physical knowledge of 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.
All research program areas are targeted for budget cuts. Six of the seven research areas would be cut by 8 percent, including invasive species; wildlife and fish; water, air, and soil; wildland fire and fuels; resource management and use; and recreation R&D. The inventory and monitoring R&D account would be cut by only 1 percent.
Some priority research programs would be continued through reallocation of funds. Research on the introduction and spread of non-native species would be supported by eliminating some research on established species. In the resource management account, research on cellulosic ethanol, urban wood waste, pinyon-juniper restoration, and hardwood tree regeneration would be de-emphasized. Capacity for research and partnerships on wildlife and fish research would continue at a reduced level in some regions.
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