The Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) was established in 2007 to address challenges facing the wood products industry, landowners, and managers of the nation's forestland. Over the past decade, the 7 university sites (University of Maine [lead], North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, University of Georgia, Purdue University, University of Idaho, University of Washington) that collaborate under CAFS have successfully provided the structure and resources needed for scientific collaboration in the areas of forest genetics, site manipulation, and growth & yield modeling. As CAFS moves into Phase III, focus will shift to address the technological challenges of the 21st century, with research questions aimed at multiple spatial and temporal scales (including molecular, cellular, individual-tree, stand, and ecosystem levels). Forests provide a major part of the Earth's oxygen, remove and store a substantial amount of atmospheric CO2, provide habitats for much of the world's plants, animals, and microorganisms, serve as feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels, and biomaterials, and are a source of economic opportunity. CAFS regional and national research on a wide range of technological capabilities to sustain healthy forests, with an emphasis on decision-support tools and remote sensing, will support the US forest industry by solving problems with targeted, applied, and collaborative research.

The Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) brings together industry and agency scientists and practitioners and university scientists to solve problems facing our nation's planted and natural forests. CAFS Phase III interdisciplinary research approach will enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. forest products industries by solving problems at multiple temporal and spatial scales, and by determining fundamental solutions that transcend traditional tree species, regional, and disciplinary boundaries. During Phase III, CAFS will focus on precision forest management, forest genetics, key decision-support tools, and remote sensing research. Technology transfer between CAFS scientists and industry will facilitate the adoption of technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), which are rapidly changing how forests are measured, monitored, and managed. CAFS graduate students, recruited from underrepresented and traditional groups, will be unique in the forestry sciences because of their applied problem-solving and interdisciplinary skills across multiple scales. Healthy forests are vital to the world's ecological, social, and economic health; wood is a major economic commodity that serves as the raw material for building and as a feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels, and biomaterials; and 2.7+ million jobs depend on forests, representing a payroll of over $110 billion. CAFS, as the leader for R&D relevant to the forest industry, will directly benefit the national forest economy.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Prakash Balan
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University of Maine
United States
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