Ag Research Can Help the Economy and Inform Policy

This comes to us from Cody Sullivan, U.S. Forest Service Research and Development. When most people think of forests, science isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but, perhaps, it should. That’s because the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program oversees projects across many science disciplines including forestry, genetics, wildlife, forest products and wildfire. The agency has been using this science to deliver returns on investments for stakeholders, industry partners, and the public. For instance: • Forest Service research supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision to not list the Greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act, listing the species would have necessitated restrictions on economic activity across 163 million acres. • Because monitoring and managing rare species can be expensive, Forest Service researchers developed new environmental DNA (eDNA) technologies that make it easier and less expensive to monitor rare fish species. Additionally, Forest Inventory and Analysis research estimates the value of carbon sequestered in U.S. forestlands from 2016-2045 at $450 billion. • Analytic tools which R&D scientists developed identify specific areas where water drains off forest roads and carries unwanted sediment into waterways. These tools informed a new Environmental Protection Agency policy decision on roads and helped avoid potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in additional regulatory costs. [c

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