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Northeastern States Research Cooperative

[image:] logo of the Northeastern States Research CooperativeThe Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC) was authorized by Congress in the 1998 Agricultural Research, Extension, Education Reform Act (Public Law 105-185).  The authorizing language promotes cooperation among universities, organizations and federal agencies in New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Vermont in research and outreach relating to ecosystem health, sustainable forests management, forest product development, economics, and protection of areas of outstanding ecological significance.  The focus of the NSRC is the 26-million acre Northern Forest.

This region -- a rich, working landscape with unique recreation opportunities, vast forested watersheds, and a diversity of northern wildlife -- was elevated as a priority for national protection in the late 1980s and early 1990s when concerns rose that the remaining open forest land and its timber were being lost to unplanned fragmentation and real estate speculation.  At that time, the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York turned to the region's congressional delegation to formally create the Northern Forest Lands Council.  The NSRC addresses the research recommendations in the Northern Forest Lands Council’s 1994 report, Finding Common Ground: Conserving the Northern Forest.

Scope

The Northeastern States Research Cooperative is a competitive grant program funded by the USDA Forest Service.  The program supports cross-disciplinary, collaborative research in the Northern Forest working landscape that is home to over a million residents and stretches from eastern Maine through New Hampshire and Vermont and into northern New York.  The NSRC addresses the importance of the Northern Forest to society and the need for research to have relevance and benefit to the people who live there, work with its resources, use its products, visit it, and care about it.

NSRC partners in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and New York follow a common charter outlining the structure, governance and operating guidelines of the NSRC.  A key element of the structure and operations of the NSRC is that each partner is responsible for a specific research “theme” that falls within the research guidelines of the congressional NSRC authorization.  The four research theme areas are listed below. 

  • Theme 1 – Sustaining productive forest communities:  Balancing ecological, social, and economic considerations
  • Theme 2 – Sustaining ecosystem health in northern forests.
  • Theme 3 – Forest productivity and forest products
  • Theme 4 – Biodiversity and protected area managment

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is announced in late summer each year with pre-proposals due in October.  All research proposals received are peer reviewed by a panel of independent reviewers to ensure that those receiving funds have a clear and strong scientific foundation and also demonstrate relevance to the community development and land management issues facing the Northern Forest.

Acres of Forest Affected
26 million
Established           
1998
Staff                                    
11 individuals working part-time
(2 from each university, 2 from HBRF, 1 from NRS)
Partners                       
6 including the Northern Research Station
Active National Forests Involved
3
Base Annual Budget (in 2013) of
$ 1.62 million

 

Results

The Northeastern States Research Cooperative competitive grant program:

  • Receives 30-60 proposals each year in response to the RFP
  • Funds 15-25 projects each year
  • Sent out an estimated $16 million over the past 10 years to fund studies supporting research on the Northern Forest.
  • Resulted in publication of more than 135 scientific publications

Impacts

The NSRC slogan is “Knowldege to guide the future of Northern Forest communities.”  Since it was established more than 10 years ago, research funded by NSRC has addressed questions related to a wide range of issues including: sustainable forest management, atmospheric pollution, conservation of biodiversity, impacts of climate change, regional economics, energy and carbon, invasive species, land use planning and development, recreation and wildlife.  This investment has gone far to fill knowledge gaps in understanding and helping to sustain the precious resource that is the Northern Forest. 

Lessons Learned

The Northeastern States Research Cooperative exemplifies how success can be achieved through coordinated annual activities among dedicated partners, shared purpose, and adherence to congressional expectations.  

Partner Organizations

Last Modified: July 8, 2013