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Forestry & Wildland Resources Research Guide


This research guide lists current and historical publication series of the USFS and its research stations and resources that can be used to find and access them. USFS publications are available in the Cal Poly Humboldt Library in the US Documents Collection depository collection in print or microfiche format. In addition, most current USFS documents are available in full-text format on the Internet and many older documents have been retrospectively digitized by the USFS and are also available on the Internet.

Established in 1881 as the Division of Forestry to "study forest conditions and disseminate forest information," the U.S. Forest Service received its present name in 1905 and 39 million acres of forest "reserves" were placed under its jurisdiction. It presently manages 193 million acres of forest and rangelands. Organizationally, the USFS is composed of a Chief's office in Washington, D.C., 9 regional offices, 7 research stations with a total of 77 experimental forests and ranges, 155 national forests, and 20 national grasslands. 

From the very beginning, the nature and importance of forest research were recognized with its first chief, Gifford Pinchot, stating that "the time seems to have come when direct original investigations should be undertaken with a view to furthering forestry practice." Publications originating from USFS Research, one of four major programs within the service, are a major source in advancing the theory and practice of forestry on the nation's 1.6 billion acres of forests and rangelands. Basic and applied research within the USFS focuses on three major areas:

  • understanding forest and range ecosystems
  • understanding how people perceive and value natural resources
  • determining practices most suitable for sustainable production and use of natural resources

In addition to forest research USFS publications also reflect the other three programmatic areas in the service--national forest administrationstate and private forestry, and international forestry.

For additional information on the role of USFS research see The Research Publishing Influence of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Spencer) IN Literature of Forestry and Agroforestry (McDonald and Lassoie) 1996 (print copy available in SD 387 D6 L58 1996).


Publication Series by Broad Subject - Administration

Annual reports, manuals, environmental reports, regulations

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statements (Docs A 13.92/2) and Final Environmental Impact Statements (Docs A 13.92) EISs on forest service policy and management of national forests. EISs prior to 1976 will be found in Docs A 13.2.
  • Handbooks, Manuals, and Guides (Docs A 13.36/2) Includes the Forest Service Manual (FSM) which contains the policies and standards for the conduct of USFS programs and activities; and the Forest Service Handbooks (FSH) which are the main source for detailed instructions for carrying out the policies issued in the FSM. Together they make up the Forest Service Directive System which provides "direction" for the USFS. Directives are issued at national, regional, and forest levels. See the Guide to Forest Service Directives (link below) for further information on the directives system; a table listing the codification system used for the FSM and the FSH; and a listing of individual FSH titles. Forest Service Directives (see link below) contains the online fulltext of the FSM and many of the FSH along with a keyword search option.
  • Regulations, Rules and Instructions (Docs A 13.36)
  • Training Texts (Docs A 13.36/4)

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Research

  • Bulletin (Docs A 13.3) No. 1-127, 1887-1913. Early research series for USFS.
  • Circular (Docs A 13.4) No. 1-216, 1886-1913. Early research series for USFS.

Beginning in 1963, all research series issued by research stations were consolidated into four report series.

  • General Technical Report (Docs A 13.88) Proceedings of symposia, computer programs, annotated bibliographies, and literature reviews, rather than original research.
  • Research Note (Docs A 13.79) Observational information and reports on new techniques or instruments.
  • Research Paper (Docs A 13.78) Final results of formal studies on all aspects of forest management.
  • Resource Bulletin (Docs A 13.80) Economic information on forest resources and products

Each research publication is assigned a letter code for the issuing research station (currently--FPL, IITF, NRS, PNW, PSW, RMRS, SRS, WO; noncurrent--CS, INT, ITF, LS, NC, NE, NOR, RM, SE, SO, SW) and a sequential number, e.g, A 13.78: PSW 5. Guide to Abbreviations in USDA/FS Publications (see link below) lists research station and series abbreviations. Station research series prior to 1963 are listed in Publications Series by Research Station (see link below).

In addition to the above research series, publications authored by USFS personnel having a broader scope may also be published in one of the following general U.S. Department of Agriculture series:

  • Agricultural Handbook (Docs A 1.76) Manuals, guidebooks, glossaries, specifications, and taxonomic catalogs.
  • Agricultural Information Bulletin (Docs A 1.75) Popular or nontechnical publications designed to aid in the understanding of special topics.
  • Miscellaneous Publication (Docs A 1.38)
  • Technical Bulletin (Docs A 1.36) Complete reports on research projects.

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Economics

  • Forest Resource Report (irregular) 1950- (Docs A 13.50) Economic projections on forest and range resource production, inventory and use.
  • Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in the Pacific Northwest Forest Industries (quarterly) 1963- (Docs A 13.66/13)
  • Resource Bulletin (Docs A 13.80) Economic information on forest resources and products.
  • U.S. Timber Production, Trade, Consumption, and Price Statistics (Docs A 13.113) Periodically published statistical compilation containing annual data from 1950 to date.

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Engineering

  • Engineering Technical Information System (Docs A 13.84/2) Includes the Engineering Manual (EM) series.
  • Equipment Development and Test Reports (Docs A 13.49/4) Report on development and testing of forest and range equipment.

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Fire Management

  • Forest Fire News (semiannual) (Docs A 13.32/4) News on developments in fire management as well as reports on major fires.
  • National Forest Fire Report (annual) (Docs 13.32/3) Report on wildfires in national forests.
  • Wildfire Statistics (annual) (Docs A 13.32/2) Reports on wildfires on federal, state, and private lands including statistics on causes, size classes, acres burned.

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Insects and Disease

  • Forest Insect and Disease Management Evaluation Reports (Docs A 13.93)
  • Forest Pest Management Methods Application Group Reports (Docs A 13.52/10-3)

Publication Series by Broad Subject -Maps

  • Information Pamphlets Relating to National Forests (Docs A 13.13) Descriptive brochures and maps from national forests.
  • Maps (Docs A 13.28) National forest wilderness area, and other miscellaneous maps.

Publication Series by Broad Subject -Range Management

  • Range Improvement Notes (quarterly) vol.1-19, 1956-1974; (irregular) 1977-

Publication Series by Broad Subject -Reforestation

  • Forest Tree Nurseries in the United States (irregular) (Docs A 13.74) Directory of federal, state, and private nurseries.
  • Tree Planting in the United States (annual) 1951- . Statistical report summarizing tree planting, timber stand improvement, and nursery production activities across all ownerships of forest land in the United States. Tree Planters Notes (see link below), 1951-1968, 1997 to date (print copy available in Docs A 13.51); Forest Planting, Seedling, and Silvical Treatments in the United States, 1969-1980 (Docs A 13.51/2); US Forest Planting Report, 1981-1989 (Docs A 13.109); Tree Planting in the United States, 1990 to 1994 (Docs A 13.110/14).

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Silvics

  • American Woods (Docs A 13.31) Popular pamphlets describing appearance, distribution, growth, production, properties, and principal uses of forest trees.
  • Silvical Leaflet No. 1-53, 1907-1913 (Docs A 13.12)
  • Useful Trees of the U.S. No. 1-28, 1941-1943 (Docs A 13.46) Popular four-page leaflets on common forest trees.

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Watershed Management

  • Watershed System Development Group Application Document (Docs A 13.87/3)
  • Watershed System Development Group Technical Note (Docs A 13.87/4)
  • Watershed System Development Group Technical Paper (Docs A 13.897/2)

Publication Series by Broad Subject - Wildlife

  • Species Range Maps (Docs A 13.107)
  • Wildlife Unit Technical Series (Docs A 13.32/2-2)

(Note: In addition to the formal USFS series listed above, reports authored by USFS personnel may also appear as papers presented at conferences and symposia; or as papers published in scholarly journals and serials from universities, commercial publishers, and professional societies.)

Publication Series by Research Station

Listed below are historical publication series issued by USFS research stations through 1962 as well as a few current series still published by research stations. In 1962 most of the research series listed below were consolidated into the four USFS research series listed under the Research (see link below) category above.

    • *Central States Forest Experiment Station (merged with Lake States in 1965 to form North Central Forest Experiment Station) (Docs A 13.68)Technical Note No. 1-62, 1940-1943 (Docs A 13.68/6)Technical Paper No. 1-192, 1944-1962 (Docs A 13.68/7)Miscellaneous Release No. 1-35, ?-1962 (Docs A 13.68/8)Station Note No. 1-157, 1933-1962 (Docs A 13.68/10)
    • *Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station (Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station merged into it in 1953) (merged into Rocky Mountain Research Station in 1997) (Docs A 13.65)Research Paper No. 1-71, 1943-1962 (Docs A 13.65/7)Research Note No. 1-104, 1951-1962 (Docs A 13.65/8)Miscellaneous Publication No. 1-26, 1954-1962 (Docs A 13.65/9)Forest Survey Release No. 1-5, 1958-1962 (Docs A 13.65/10)Range Improvement Notes (quarterly) Vol. 1-19, 1956-1974; (irregular) 1977- (Docs A 13.65/11)
    • *Lake States Forest Experiment Station (merged with Central States in 1965 to form North Central Forest Experiment Station) (Docs A 13.61)Station Paper No. 1-106, 1946-1962 (Docs A 13.61/8)Technical Note No. 1-626, 1928-1962 (Docs A 13.61/10)
    • *North Central Forest Experiment Station (Docs A 13.82) (merged into Northern Experiment Station in 2007)
    • *Northeastern Research Station (Docs A 13.42) (formerly Northeastern Forest Experiment Station)(merged into Northern Experiment Station in 2007)Station Paper No. 1-171, 1945-1962 (Docs A 13.42/16)Forest Research Note No. 1-134, 1950-1962 (Docs A 13.42/20)Trees for Reclamation (Docs A 13.42/24)NE-INF No. 1-, 1977- (Docs A 13.42/24)
    • *Northern Forest Experiment Station (Alaska Forest Research Center to 1961; merged into Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station in 1966) (Docs A 13.73)Station Paper No. 1-13, 1953-1960 (Docs A 13.73/8)Technical Note No. 1-54, 1949-1962 (Docs A 13.73/9)
    • *Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station (Southwestern Forest Experiment Station merged into the Rocky Mountain Forest & Range Experiment Station in 1953)

Station Paper No. 1-73, 1949-1962 (Docs A 13.69/7)Research Note No. 1-84, 1947-1962 (Docs A 13.69/8)Forest Survey Release No. 1-4, 1957-1961 (Docs A 13.69/9)Resource Evaluation Newsletter No. 1-, 1980- (Docs A 13.69/14)

  • *Southeastern Forest Experiment Station (Docs A 13.63) (merged with the Southern Research Station) Forest Survey Release No. 1-59, 1939-1962 (Docs A 13.63/7) Station Paper No. 1-156, 1949-1962 (Docs A 13.63/9) Research Note No. 1-183, 1952-1962 (Docs A 13.63/11)

*combined with continuing research stations

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - *Central States Forest Experiment Station

(*combined with continuing research stations)

Publications to January 1960 (Docs A 13.68/8:6) From 1927

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station

Recent Reports 1966-1996 (Docs A 13.65/14) Quarterly and annual

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - North Central Research Station (including Lake States Forest Experimentation Station)

List of Publications 1961-1996 (Docs A 13.82/9) - Annotated and annual

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - Northeastern Research Station

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - Pacific Northwest Research Station

  • Annotated List of Publications 1965- (Docs A 13.66/15) - Bimonthly and annual
  • Publications of PNW 1928-1965 (Docs A 13.66/15:P96)

Research Station Publication Bibliographies and Databases - Pacific Southwest Research Station

  • Publications for [year] 1916- (Docs A 13.62/11) Quarterly and annual
  • Staff Publications, California Forest and Range Experiment Station, 1916-1949 (Docs A 13.62/11:1916-1949) Includes subject, author, and series indexes.

Other Bibliographies and Databases

In addition to the Treesearch the following sources can be used to find USFS publications by subject, author, or research station. Some include links to online fulltext.


  • Bibliography of Forest Service Range, Wildlife, and Fish Habitat and Related Research Publications, 1977-1989 (Docs A 1.60/13:95) Lists under broad subject categories 3,000 Forest Service sponsored studies.
  • Dictionary Catalogue of the Yale Forestry Library (abstr SD 1 Y3) Cumulative catalog of the oldest "continuous" forestry library in the United States covering forestry literature from the early 18th century through 1962, including USFS publications.
  • Complete List of Forest Service Publications (US Forest Service Library) 1936 (Abstr Docs SD 391 C65 1936) Bibliography of USFS publications through 1935. Arranged by series with a combined author/subject index.
  • Index to Publications of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Bradley) (Abstr Docs A 21.2:In 2/2) Subject and author listing of USDA and USFS documents appearing in several cumulations: 1901-1925, 1926-1930, 1931-1935, and 1936-1940.
  • Selected Bibliography of North America Forestry (Munns) 1940 (USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 364) (ref SD 121 M85) Classified bibliography of forestry literature, including USFS publications, through 1930.

Treesearch Database