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Global Change Research in the USDA Forest Service

Assessment and Modeling

Results from experimental studies, monitoring, and modeling research are essential for guiding future resource management decisions. Periodic assessments provide information to administrators for consideration in policy making. The FSGCRP develops, evaluates, and applies models to address both the impact of global change on forests and the role forests in a changing environment.

The modeling activities are designed to:

  • Improve the understanding of how forest management activities and resource outputs will be affected by a changing climate.
  • Improve the understanding of carbon cycling in trees, forest soils, and wood in service.
  • Evaluate alternative response strategies and options for mitigation and adaptation by predicting system responses to both global change stresses and management actions.
  • Provide an improved characterization of forest and rangeland ecosystems for economic/policy models.
  • Aid in the synthesis and integration of research results and help identify weaknesses in system understanding.

The FSGCRP and the Resources Planning Act (RPA) assessments have a common goal of assessing current and future resource trends. The RPA assessments follow a long-standing Forest Service tradition of assessing the past, current, and future state of forests. A substantial body of expertise, information management, and modeling systems are in place to support the assessment process.

Assessments typically include:

  • A description of the current status of the resource.
  • A projection of supply of and demand for resource outputs.
  • Social, economic and environmental implications of the projections.
  • Management opportunities to improve the resource situation.
  • A description of Forest Service programs and responsibilities.

The Results of the RPA assessment are used as the factual basis for formulating future renewable resource management programs.