Photo of David N. Wear

David N. Wear

Senior Research Forester
3041 Cornwallis Rd.
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone: 919-523-5035
Fax: 919-549-4047
dave.wear@usda.gov

Current Research

Research focuses on developing natural resource futures, conducting broad scale assessments, and supporting policy discussions

Natural Resource Futures: Research focuses on understanding the dynamics that shape future forests and developing projections of forest conditions, uses, and values that can support policy analysis and deliberations. Studies address multiple mechanisms of change including: land use choices, forest management choices, climate influences on forest conditions, and biological dynamics. Most recently focused on projecting changes in the carbon content of US forests.

Natural Resource Assessments: Assessments support the application of research to regional and US-wide questions regarding natural resources. Methods include public involvement, scenario design, science synthesis as well as leading teams to complete regional multidisciplinary assessments and contributing to national assessments. Most recently focused on downscaling projection approaches to address water issues for large river basins.

Approaches: Research applies methods from microeconomics, statistics/econometrics, forest inventory, forest biology, and simulation modeling. Policy analysis demands that methods accurately reflect both the economic mechanism and biological context of natural resource decisions.

Education

Ph.D. in Forest Management and Economics, 1987
University of Montana
M.F. in Resource Systems Science, 1983
Duke University
B.A. in Botany, 1981
University of Montana

Professional Experience

Project Leader, Center for Integrated Forest Science, US Forest Service, Southern Research Station
2012—Current
Project Leader, Forest Economics and Policy, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
2006—2012
Project Leader, Economics of Forest Management and Protection, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
1995—2006
Research Forest Economist, Economics of Forest Management and Protection, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
1987—1995
Operations Research Analyst, Lolo National Forest, US Forest Service. Missoula, Montana
1983—1987

Awards and Recognition

Award for Forest Science, Society of American Foresters., 2016
For distinguished individual research in the quantitative, economic, managerial, and/or social sciences that has resulted in substantial advances in forestry.
Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award for Personal and Professional Excellence, 2011
For exemplary leadership and scientific contributions significantly influencing the policy and management decisions that ensure the sustainability of natural resources in the southern United States and beyond.
Directors Award for Science Delivery, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service., 2011
Co-leader, Southern Forest Futures Project. For remarkable leadership, development and delivery of the landmark analysis of Southern Forest Futures informing policy and management choices in the South.
Distinguished Science Award, USDA Forest Service, 2008
For exceptional research work in the advancement of areas of integrated resource assessment, land use change modeling, and the analysis of forest policies, while contributing directly to the public discourse regarding conservation and sustainability of th
Directors Distinguished Science Award, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 2008
For exceptional research work in the advancement of areas of integrated resource assessment, land use change modeling, and the analysis of forest policies, while contributing directly to the public discourse regarding conservation and sustainability of th
Directors Award for Customer Service, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 2006
For “being proactive in providing excellent service to key partners through the conduct of innovative research to answer highly important questions regarding major changes in the forest economy.”
Director’s Award for Sustained Excellence in Science, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 2002
For sustained excellence in developing and executing a research program that addresses the sustainability of multiple resource values.
Outstanding Paper in the Discipline of Landscape Ecolog, 2000
Outstanding Paper in the Discipline of Landscape Ecology, given by the International Association for Landscape Ecology, U.S. Regional Chapter for: Wear, D.N., and P. Bolstad. 1998. Land Use Changes in Southern Appalachian Landscapes: Spatial Analysis and
Chiefs Ecosystem Management Award, 1997
...as a team leader for the Southern Appalachian Assessment.
Vice President Gore Hammer Award, 1997
...as a team leader for the Southern Appalachian Assessment.

Featured Publications and Products

Publications

Research Highlights

Carbon Accumulation by U.S. Forests May Slow Over the Next 25 Years (2016)
SRS-2016-173 U.S. forests currently help offset carbon emissions and reduce the overall costs of achieving emission targets but that could change over the next 25 years. The accumulation of carbon stored in U.S. forests may slow in the future, primarily due to land use change and forest aging, according to findings by Forest Service scientists. Future declines in forest carbon sequestration could influence emission reduction targets and impact the costs of achieving policy goals. Policies that encourage retaining or expanding forest land could enhance carbon sequestration levels over the next 25 years.

Forest Service Scientists Assess Potential Impacts of Eucalyptus on Water Resources in the Southern U.S. (2014)
SRS-2014-162 At the request of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Center for Integrated Forest Science led interdisciplinary analyses to predict where freeze- tolerant Eucalyptus could be planted and assess the potential impacts on water resources. Novel econometric models predicted the potential for as many as 2.8 million acres of Eucalyptus plantations in the southern U.S. Hydrologic analyses suggested that this level of conversion would have negligible impacts on water resources at larger watershed scales; however, local impacts were possible depending upon the hydrological conditions of the planting site and surrounding area.

Science in supports of the National Climate Assessment (2014)
SRS-2014-167 A synthesis of research findings provided the foundation for the analysis of climate change on forest conditions, land use, and forest carbon in the Third National Climate Assessment released by the White House in 2014.

Study Forecasts Changes in Southern Forests Between 2010 and 2060 (2011)
SRS-2011-23 In May 2011, the Forest Service and the Southern Group of State Foresters unveiled the SFFP, a multi-year research effort that among other things projects that the South may lose 23 million acres of forests over the next 50 years.

Understanding how forest area will change in response to competing land uses (2018)
SRS-2018-59 Strong economic growth in the southeastern U.S. has led to a shift in rural lands to urban uses, while changes in agricultural markets have driven the conversion of crop lands to forest uses. Economic theory suggests that higher timber values should discourage urbanization – but by how much?