Forest Futures

“Do it for the ‘Gram:” Forest Recreation in the Age of Social Media

Posted by on December 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm

National Forests and public lands are experiencing increasing recreational visitation and this trend is expected to continue into the future. Forest Service managers strive to balance recreational use of public lands with other uses, as well as adequately supply and maintain recreational facilities like campgrounds and trails. At the same time, technology and social media […]

The Vertical Forest

Posted by on November 28, 2017 at 8:49 pm

First we had vertical farms, and now….vertical forests! The Forest Futures scanning team found the following scanning hit: Forest in the sky: Residential tower blocks covered in 800 trees and 15,000 plants help combat global warming in Milan. The Boeri Studio in Milan Italy designed the project to help combat global warming and pollution. The […]

The Coming Age of … Wood?!

Posted by on November 19, 2017 at 7:11 pm

On my bookshelf, surrounded by scores of futures books, is a 1949 volume published by Simon and Schuster and authored by Egon Glesinger. The book is titled The Coming Age of Wood. Glesinger was Chief of the Forest Products Branch of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and was decades ahead of […]

Apple in the Forest

Posted by on August 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Foresight is about aligning decisions in the present with the future that is emerging, something Apple has been doing, to some extent, over the decades. At a time when technology began to dominate the global market, Apple must have understood the trends that were driving change, including mobile internet and web browsing, digital connectivity, LCD displays, […]

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 […]