Forest Futures

Forest Futures: Economic Growth or Degrowth?

Posted by on August 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

Since the 1972 publication of Donella Meadow’s Limit to Growth, many proponents of long-term future sustainability and the survival of man given the steady depletion of finite resources yet the exponential growth of populations, the deterioration of our natural environment as well as economic stagnation, among other things, have advocated for a global response that […]

Forest Futures Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 1

Posted by on July 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

As part of a collaborative research project between the University of Houston’s Foresight program and the US Forest Service in setting up a Horizon Scanning system for the latter, we’ve published our first Forest Futures newsletter. Horizon scanning involves identifying emerging trends in the internal and external environment relative to an organization or an issue of […]

Visualizing Forest Futures: Linking Traditional Knowledge with Modeling and Visualization

Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

When it comes to forest futures, perhaps the uncertainty relative to climate change is better understood by a new approach that “links human values, projections and visualization to decision-making” for sustainably managing forests. VIsualizing Forest Futures (VIFF) is an interdisciplinary research project conducted by Pennsylvania State University and funded in part by the NSF, which […]

Mimicking Mother Nature: Nudging Forests Toward Old Growth Conditions

Posted by on June 28, 2017 at 8:04 pm

University of Vermont (UVM) forest ecologist Bill Keeton is taking a “middle-aged” approach to managing forest ecosystems by nudging them towards “old growth conditions“. His 15-year study, some of which consists of research conducted on the 500-acre University of Vermont Jericho Research Forest, involves the regeneration of recovering secondary forests (those in recovery since the […]

AI, the Forest, and Artisans

Posted by on June 14, 2017 at 9:53 pm

The quickening pace of technology offers the promise of greater productivity and better decision-making within modern society, but there’s a downside to that potential.  The use of robots and artificial intelligence within industry threatens to displace not only low-skilled human workers, but also many in white-collar positions as AI improves in its competence in offering […]

Before We Let Robots Reclaim the Sahara . . .

Posted by on June 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm

With the fast pace of modern technology, it’s no surprise that serious attention has been focused on how it might be applied to reclaiming some of the millions of square miles of non-polar desert which comprise approximately 13% of the Earth’s dry land surface.  It’s not a new idea, but previous attempts have been hampered […]

Forest Futures: A Bionic Leaf: An Unsuspecting Hero?

Posted by on May 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Perhaps you may remember and was a fan of the 1970s-television series The Six Million Dollar Man, in which actor Lee Majors plays Colonel Steve Austin, an astronaut turned cyborg-like superhuman following a catastrophic accident, who uses his nuclear-powered bionic limbs and implants on behalf of the US government to battle evil for the good […]

Coming Home to the Forest

Posted by on May 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm

The Roman historian Tacitus recorded how Julius Caesar once interviewed men who had journeyed for two months from Poland to Gaul (France) without ever once glimpsing sunlight.  Since those days, however, it seems like civilization has been measured largely by how far the forest eaves could be pushed back from the farmland and the city […]

Forest Futures: Catch ‘Em While They’re Small

Posted by on March 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

A valuable tool for fighting large wildfires are manned aerial water tankers that can carry anywhere from hundreds to thousands of gallons of water or fire retardant.  The Forest Service has stated in the past that it is well-served by the flexibility provided by moderate-sized aircraft, as opposed to large jets such as 747s or […]

Forest Futures: Flash Towns in the Forest?

Posted by on March 1, 2017 at 9:28 am

There are a great variety of things we have to look forward in the near future:  automated vehicles and aircraft for travel; the increasing ability for drones to provide service and goods on command; the capability of personal communication devices to leverage peer-to-peer connections; semi-luxurious, yet highly portable shelters and modular tents; the ease of […]