My research has been in Pasteur’s quadrant, where I began with a practical problem and resolved it in whatever way needed:
Improving the scientific theory, such as in Forest Stand Dynamics
Changing practices, such as changing planting spacing between trees (Douglas-fir Stand Management for the Future)
Building a computer model to speed complex calculations needed for sustainability (FEMS)
Much of my success has been because I made use of the knowledge of practitioners, which helped me narrow the range effective solutions and ensured that I was still doing useful research.