Center for Integrated Forest Science (RWU-4855)

In the News


The Center for Integrated Forest Science (CIFS), a pioneering research program within Forest Service Research and Development, addresses complex questions that require science to inform natural resource management and policy decisions. Most of these questions require understanding biophysical AND human dimensions and fusing science from the natural and social sciences.

A different research model…

The Center is small, comprised of two full-time senior scientists (Wear and Vose).  However, the Center builds teams from the expertise of the Southern Research Station and its network of cooperators to tackle research questions.  This network of several hundred scientists and professionals represents a broad range of scientific disciplines and research settings. A combination of teams and scientists on special assignment to the Center will provide a flexible workforce to meet the needs at hand and anticipate future needs.

Building on strengths…

Forest Service Research and Development has led a national forest research program with scientists working in several disciplines for more than 100 years. It maintains some of the best long term data sets on forest conditions in the world.  It provides the only comprehensive, ground-based forest inventory system in the United States, a critical forest monitoring system since the 1930s. A network of Experimental Forests provides a framework for scientific investigations across a variety of ecosystem types and management regimes. Building on these strengths, the Center provides a mechanism for mobilizing this set of assets to address emerging policy and management questions.


CIFS is led by two senior scientists with more than 50 years of combined experience in Forest Science and leadership.  Dr. James Vose brings his background of forest ecology and watershed science to the unit after conducting and leading research at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory for 25 years.  Dr. David Wear brings his background in forest economics and resource assessment after leading the forest economics and policy research program at Research Triangle Park, NC for 17 years.

Why now?

Due to pressing needs for more integrated information at larger spatial scales Southern Research Station scientists have already been conducting and leading broad scale investigations of management and policy questions.  For example, first the Southern Forest Resource Assessment and the Southern Forest Futures Project co-led by Wear and John Greis have addressed questions regarding long term forest sustainability using teams of scientists.  Forest Service scientists have contributed substantially to national assessments of climate change impacts on forests and comprehensive efforts to development management options to deal with those impacts; co-led by Vose. These efforts and others focused on specific resource management questions (for example, long leaf pine restoration or water-forest interactions) indicate a sustained need for cross-disciplinary, problem focused investigations. CIFS formalizes this emergent element of the Southern Station’s research program.


CIFS offices opened at North Carolina State University, College of Natural Resources, in May 2012. A 5-year research plan will be completed by the end of 2012 and research studies are already underway.

Center for Integrated Forest Science

North Carolina State University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
Campus Box 8008
Raleigh, NC 27695-8008

Shipping Address:
5223 Jordan Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695