The Center for Integrated Forest Science

A Pioneering Research Model

Over the past 40 years, forest science has evolved from more traditional “forestry” science with a near exclusive focus on enhancing forest productivity to a science that must address broader and more complex topics such as sustaining ecosystem services in the face of land use change, climate variability, and altered disturbance regimes. Indeed, the nexus of ecological and socioeconomic systems requires that research questions address interactions between forests and people–both how people manage or otherwise alter forests and how society derives essential ecosystem services from forests now and in the future.

While a diverse cadre of scientific disciplines and research models are currently deployed to examine various aspects of these issues, it is unlikely that many of tomorrow’s most important questions will be directly addressed with today’s structured disciplinary approaches. The challenges of the 21st century will require increased synthesis of information across a variety of scientific disciplines and new research approaches that are more integrated across disciplines and conducted at larger scales. 

The Center’s goal is to develop and implement innovative research approaches that span the relevant research disciplines and provide timely, relevant, and credible science to natural resources managers and policy makers.

Longleaf pine forest in southern Alabama. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.
Longleaf pine forest in southern Alabama. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

A Novel Organizational Sructure

This Center’s design includes: (1) fostering innovative interdisciplinary research and synthesis, (2) leading work with a small core of permanent scientists, and (3) utilizing a rotating staff of contributing  scientists from Forest Service Research and Development and other institutions (e.g., other federal and state agencies, universities, etc.) working on site or in virtual work environments. This nimble organizational structure enhances the ability of the Center to quickly and efficiently address the most important questions and enhances the ability of Forest Service Research and Development to quickly redeploy scientific capacity to address pressing problems.

Current Research Activities

The Center is actively engaged in a wide range of syntheses and new analyses such as

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Impacts and Management Options
  • Midscale Analysis of Forests, Land Use Change, Climate, and Water interactions
  • Climate Change Impacts and Forest Management Options
  • Remote Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Drought Stress
  • Potential Adoption and Impacts of Eucalyptus Expansion on Water Resources in the U.S.
  • Forecasting U.S. Forest Conditions and Carbon Storage

Where are We Located?

The Center is located within the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC. NCSU is a land-grant and sea-grant university with state-wide, regional, and international commitments and responsibilities in forestry and other natural resource sciences. NCSU has established itself as a nucleus for federal and university partnerships in the South. 

Meet the Science Leaders for the Center

U.S. Forest Service senior scientists Dave Wear and Jim Vose are the science leaders of the Center for Integrated Forest Science. Together, they bring diverse backgrounds and long track records of leading interdisciplinary teams on syntheses and large scale analyses.   

Visit the Center’s website.

For more information, email Dave Wear at or Jim Vose at

 Access the latest publications by SRS scientists.

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