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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

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Experimental Forests

The USDA Forest Service's Experimental Forests (EF) are dedicated to long-term research on ecosystem processes, silviculture and forest management options, wildlife habitat characteristics, and forest growth and development. Twenty-two experimental forests are administered by the Northern Research Station. On several of the experimental forests, research and monitoring have been carried out for many decades and have produced long-term, irreplaceable data sets that are valuable in environmental science. Many scientists from the Northern Research Station and cooperating scientists from many educational institutions, government agencies, and foundations conduct research on these experimental forests in the Northeast and Midwest.

Experimental forests are canvasses on which some of the most inventive minds in Forest Service Research history have worked out their ideas. Replicated studies, maintained over decades, allowed us to first describe our region's resources and then to develop the stewardship principles we practice today.

The Northern Research Station includes 22 Official and 2 Cooperating Experimental Forests in 13 States throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

Special Events

Bartlett Experimental Forest - Hardwoods in autumn colors.Bartlett Experimental Forest celebrates 75 Years of long-term research
Northern hardwood management in New England is based largely on research done at the Bartlett Experimental Forest, established in 1931. Regeneration methods and early stand management have been especially influenced by studies there. Likewise, recommendations for managing habitat for wildlife have been developed based on research there. Bartlett EF research has been instrumental to understanding forest response following disturbance and in providing reference data for field and remote sensing studies aimed at understanding nutrient cycling, growth, and carbon storage. These studies are playing a critical role in evaluating new remote sensing technologies for estimating forest ecosystem processes. Technology transfer is a major function with numerous workshops and tours annually.


New Research Facility at Marcell Experimental Forest.Marcell Experimental Forest - Grand opening of new research facility
Dedicated on October 18, 2006, the new facility has approximately 2,500 sq. ft. in the main building that provides office space, a laboratory, conference facilities that seat about 30 people, and living quarters for visiting researchers and graduate students.


Much of the information presented here was originally published in:

Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p.

Information has been updated since original publication

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Last Modified: 01/26/2018