A Forest Service scientist organized a session at the 2011 International Symposium on Society and Resource Management that explored the applications of futures research to long-range environmental analysis, planning, and policy. Futures research began in the post-World War II era and has emerged as a mature research field. But most futures research is invisible to the scholarly community and the public because it takes place in corporations, the military, and the intelligence community and is therefore proprietary or confidential. Futures research uses a range of distinct methods to study the expected future, a range of plausible alternative futures, and the preferred future, with the goal of developing strategic foresight for decision making and policy. Taken together, the papers presented in this session suggest that the perspectives and methods of futures research hold great potential for developing the foresight needed to meet environmental challenges of the 21st century.