There is confusion about conflicts of interest between sources of funding and the extent to which Forest Service researchers are free to publish their findings. Forest Service Research is an independent entity with no administrative accountability to policy makers up to the office of the Chief of the Forest Service. Congressional mandate ensures that research will be free from the influence of politics that land management necessarily entails. Because politics involves opinions, it is important to note that opinions per se are not scientific and must be appropriately compared with empirical data before they can be considered so. It is the quantitative test of an opinion that renders it scientific, not the opinion itself.
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Vol. 73 • No. 5