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

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Paoli Experimental Forest

Wayne-Hoosier National Forest, Indiana

The Paoli Experimental Forest was established in 1963 in the Wayne-Hoosier National Forest in south-central Indiana. The primary goal was to conduct research on mixed hardwood species to demonstrate how to increase the number and quality of high-value species on good sites. The Paoli, about 256 ha, is located in the Tell City Ranger District.


The climate is temperate, with long summers and mild winters. The average frost-free period is 175 days. Annual precipitation measures 1,092 mm and it falls throughout the year, primarily as rain. Droughts can occur in late July and August.


The physiography of the Paoli is typical of the unglaciated knobs region of southern Indiana and northcentral Kentucky. The area is essentially a dissected plateau. Slopes range from steep to gentle and ridges from narrow to very broad. Elevation of the Paoli ranges from 180 to 256 m above sea level.


The forest types are typical for southern Indiana and other areas of equally good sites in the region. Mixed hardwoods are on lower slopes, in valleys, and in coves. The oak-hickory type is found on the upper slopes and ridges. The predominant species are sugar maple, ash, beech hickory, white oak, and elm in the mixed hardwood type and white oak, hickory, sugar maple, red oak, and black oak in the oak-hickory type. Yellow poplar is deficient in the overstory but scattered trees provide a seed source. Black walnut trees, though not numerous, are scattered through the mixed hardwood stands. Plantations and old fields are generally found on broad ridges. The old fields range from small fields with no woody species to those with volunteer trees and shrubs.

Research, Past and Present

  • White and northern red oak planting
  • Effects of nursery undercutting and shoot pruning on growth of outplanted oaks
  • Prescribed burning to stimulate both planted and natural stands of regenerated oak trees and control competition to the oak from yellowpoplar, aspen, and maple

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

Research in oak regeneration conducted on the Paoli has been used to develop prescriptions for regenerating oak that were published in the scientific literature, conference proceedings, and North Central Research Station papers. This research has added to our knowledge of how oak regeneration dynamics vary by ecoregion in the Eastern United States and was recently incorporated into a landmark synthesis on oak forest ecosystems, The Ecology and Silviculture of Oaks by P.A. Johnson, S.R. Shifley, and R. Rogers.


Collaborators include the Hoosier National Forest,
Purdue University, and Indiana Division of Natural

Research Opportunities

Opportunities include stand-level investigations into the forest ecology and silviculture of central hardwood forests. Monitoring ongoing research will continue to be productive and add to our knowledge of how forests respond to specific management disturbances. Periodic forest inventory will document forest succession in the absence of management.


An equipment shed (67 m2) is located on the property.
Lat. 38°19′ N, long. 86°18′ W

Contact Information

Paoli Experimental Forest
USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station
202 Natural Resources Building
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
Tel: (573) 875-5341

Summary 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 may have been updated since original publication.

Last Modified: 05/30/2013