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Ames Forester

Abstract

The federal government ,has played an important role in the development of many activities and programs in the United States. Forestry was one of the areas in which the federal government took an early interest. This probably occurred because wood in various forms was important to the defense of the country. When the government decided th at some type of national forestry program was needed, research received first attention. In 1876, Congress authorized the appointment in the Department of Agriculture of a person to prosecute investigations and inquiries in a wide variety of ma tters pertaining to forests and forest products. When Bernard Fernow was appointed chief of the Division of Forestry in 1886, ·research received even greater emphasis. The establishment of the national forests , which included hundreds of tree species and many diverse forest types , increased the importance of forestry research. The Forest Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, with its responsibility of administering the national forests and its broader interests in both state and private forest lands, early assumed the responsibility for leadership in a forestry research program. T,his was in contrast to the r esearch program in agriculture, responsibility for which was sh ared by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the land-grant colleges and universities. Mthough the land-grant colleges could h ave been more active in forestry research, their interests were strongly with agricultural commodities other than wood. Consequently, n ever more than three percent of the federal funds allotted to the agricultural experiment stations under the Hatch Act were for forestry research .

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