OOS 40-1
An introduction to the USDA Experimental Forest and Range Network

Thursday, August 14, 2014: 1:30 PM
202, Sacramento Convention Center
Peter A. Stine, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Davis, CA

The 80 Experimental Forests and Ranges (EFRs) currently managed by the USDA Forest Service throughout the United States are valuable assets with an impressive history of scientific contributions, uniquely positioned to address current and emerging natural resource challenges. Our EFRs represent an assortment of field sites covering over 580,000 acres (235,000 ha) and are in almost every forested ecoregion in the country.  They are found in 32 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with a wide variety of historical data sets as old as 100 years. Basic and applied research activities on EFRs have provided a thorough understanding of forested ecosystems and answers to pressing questions about how to manage public and private lands.  A “Strategic Vision” has been developed to provide a comprehensive look at the past, present, and future of our collection of EFRs and their potential as a functional network.


The products from a well-supported and integrated network of 80 EFRs can help transform the management of the nation's forests and ranges.  Continental and Regional-scale syntheses of existing data across EFR sites can help managers and landowners understand how landscape responses to management actions (or inaction) vary across different types of ecosystems, how to measure these responses, and how to use the information to develop management practices to meet desired goals.

Our initial proposed steps include three approaches; 1) development of a "Smart Forest" initiative, an integrated technological platform of field instrumentation to monitor and respond rapidly to environmental change; 2) Landscape Laboratories, placed-based, integrated, and long-term research and monitoring that addresses forest and range restoration work conducted at a landscape scale, and 3) a collaborative effort to summarize what we have learned across all EFRs to address two (initially) key questions:

  • What silvicultural treatments would be most effective for forest restoration to reduce risk of expected disturbances?
  • How do forest management and other disturbances impact water quality derived from forested watersheds?