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Keith A. Blatner
For over 100 years, the Society of American Foresters has been meeting the educational needs of foresters and forestry-allied professionals through the publication of a suite of scientific and technical journals. SAF's principal publication, the Journal of Forestry (JoF), began publication in 1917 as "an amalgamation of the best features" of two other publications:Forestry Quarterly ("the first professional organ in the field," founded in October 1902 and published by the New York State College of Forestry, Cornell University) and the Proceedings of the Society of American Foresters (founded in May 1905, published by SAF) (SAF 1917). In 1955, SAF established Forest Science to fill the need for a vehicle to "publish long articles, highly technical articles, or those dealing with research methodology which are of interest only to a segment of its readers" [i.e., SAF members] (Demmon 1955). This was followed in 1977 with the creation of the Southern Journal of Applied Forestry (SJAF), established "to address topics which can find application in practice and to do so in the language of the nonspecialist" (Duffield 1977); a second regional applied journal, the Northern Journal of Applied Forestry (NJAF), was launched in 1984, followed closely by a third, the Western Journal of Applied Forestry (WJAF), in 1986 (Walls 2013).
SAF's scientific publications each fill a specific niche in the dissemination of forestry research. Forest Science strives to present "deep science" fundamental to the understanding of forest ecosystems; NJAF, SJAF, and WJAF present the application of that knowledge within specific forest ecosystems; and JOF focuses on management-oriented science, policy, and case studies framed to highlight their implications to the stewardship of America's forest resource. However, while both supply (authorship) and demand (readership) have increased for JOF and Forest Science, these measures of viability have steadily declined across the past decade for the three regional applied journals. Sadly, these regional applied journals have now reached a threshold where it is no longer viable to continue publication in their current format, and their final issues will be printed in 2013.
While there are significant economic drivers behind the decision to cease independent publication of the three regional applied journals, they represent a knowledge stream that is not replicated elsewhere, and we strongly believe that SAF has a responsibility to provide an outlet for this type of research. As the applied descendants of fundamental questions, this research forms a natural extension of the science presented within the pages of Forest Science. Therefore, beginning in January 2014, regional applied research will be welcomed into Forest Science.1
To accommodate the integration of applied research, Forest Sciencewill double the number of pages printed within each issue. This new, larger Forest Science will be delineated into two core sections: "fundamental research" will report the traditional "deep science" forestry our readers have come to expect from the pages of Forest Science; and "applied research" will explore practices and techniques addressing the goods, services, and problems of forests and forestry within specific forest ecosystems. The editorial boards of the regional applied journals will join the Forest Science editorial board to oversee the "applied research" section; under this structure, we will maintain the strengths of each format, while reassuring authors and readers that there will be no blending or blurring of content or requirements. This new arrangement will allow us to better balance articles from across the country, more widely and quickly disseminate those articles, as thus better attract the best applied forestry research from not just across the United States, but from around the world.
We are excited about what this integration signifies for the dissemination of forestry research. We look forward to sharing the practices and techniques developed by our national and global colleagues toward strengthening our forest ecosystems, continuing Gifford Pinchot's promise of ensuring the use, preservation, and renewal of our forest resource "for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time."
Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about the merger.