USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service
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»More details about BASI

Best Available Science Information: The 2012 Planning Rule requires the identification and use of the best available scientific information (BASI) to inform the forest planning process and documentation of how BASI was determined to be accurate, reliable, and relevant to issues being considered.  While the BASI informs the planning process and content, it does not dictate what the decisions must be.  There may be conflicting scientific perspectives and uncertainty in the available science. In addition to science, forest plan decisions also reflect other relevant factors such as budget, legal authorities, traditional ecological knowledge, agency policies, public input, coordination with state and local officials, and the experience of land managers.


The science synthesis will provide the current state of the science for key topics of interest to land managers in the NWFP area.  The synthesis will acknowledge competing science and risks and uncertainties with science where it exists. The science synthesis will provide information that land managers will use to develop an assessment of current and possible future conditions within the planning area.  The forest level assessment to be developed by land managers will use the information from the synthesis and will include a summary sufficient to provide the reader with an understanding of what was determined to be the BASI, how it was determined to be the BASI, and how it was used to inform the assessment.

. . ., the responsible official shall determine what information is the most accurate, reliable, and relevant to the issues being considered. . . (36 CFR 219.3)


The preamble of the planning rule makes clear that there is range of information that can be considered to be the best available scientific information (BASI):

“In some circumstances, the BASI would be that which is developed using the scientific method, which includes clearly stated questions, well-designed investigations and logically analyzed results, documented clearly and subjected to peer review.  However, in other circumstances the BASI for the matter under consideration may be information from analyses of data obtained from a local area, or studies to address a specific question in one area.  In other circumstances, the BASI also could be the result of expert opinion, panel consensus, or observations, as long as the responsible official has a reasonable basis for relying on that scientific information as the best available.” 
(77 FR 21192 (April 9, 2012)) 

For any particular scientific subject relevant to the planning process, the Responsible Official shall evaluate the scientific information based on the three criteria described (accuracy, reliability and relevancy) in the Planning Rule.  To the extent that a scientific consensus exists, it may be easy to identify the BASI.  In other cases, the Responsible Official may recognize multiple sources and possibly conflicting scientific information as BASI where a clear scientific consensus does not exist.  The Responsible Official does not have to identify a single source of scientific information that is “best” as BASI for a specific subject.




For questions on content of this webpage contact: Becky Gravenmier, Science Coordinator, PNW Station,; 503-808-2851


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Thursday,09June2016 at16:13:56CDT

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