Information For Revision of BCEF Web Page - Site Use Form

Introduction to research opportunities

Bent Creek Experimental Forest (BCEF) was established in 1925 for silviculture research in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Located in Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina, the 2,400-ha watershed has hilly and mountainous terrain ranging from 800 to 1,600 m altitude.


January averages about 2.3oC and the average July temperature is 22.5oC. Annual precipitation averages about 1,200 mm and is well distributed throughout the year, ranging from 98 mm monthly during the dormant season (November - April) to 100 mm during the growing season. The estimated annual pan evaporation ranges from about 30.5 mm in January to 104 mm in July.


Predominantly well-drained Ultisols and Inceptisols derived from metamorphosed gneisses and schists and loamy in texture. They are acidic (pH about 4.5 or less) and relatively infertile (base saturation of mineral soil ~ 10%). Soil depths average about 2.0 m surface to bedrock, although this is highly variable. Depth to the C horizon averages about 0.6 m. At various places in BCEF, particularly the hilly central part of the watershed, the A horizon has been eroded resulting from cultivation before the experimental forest was established.

Vegetation Types

The present forest is second-growth and even-aged; the canopy averages from 90 to 120 years of age. Tree stands consist of about 1/3 mesophytic species, primarity yellow-poplar, and 2/3 xerophytic species, mostly oaks (scarlet, chestnut, black, and white). An evergreen shrub layer of mountain laurel is common on dry sites and rhododendron occurs on moist sites.


  • Climatic (temperature, precipitation)
  • Bedrock geologic map
  • Soil map
  • GIS data layers

About 25% of the experimental forest is utilized for long term research studies by Forest Service scientists. However many areas are available for use by other researchers.

Research Opportunities

Experimental forests are areas of national forests that are reserved for research purposes and are used primarily by Forest Service scientists. However, experimental forests can be utilized for research studies by academic or governmental groups if their proposed investigations are compatible with management objectives and meet certain environmental conditions. We welcome new studies at BCEF and collaboration on existing ones. There is specific need for expanded cooperative research in the area of vegetation - site relationships, wildlife habitat utilization, and development of young stands.

BCEF site use forms

Researchers wishing to use the experimental forest for their study must submit a site use application form, which is used to evaluate their proposed work. The site use form also provides the experimental forest with a reference document for administrative and reporting purposes.

Role of the investigator

BCEF is committed to archiving research results so that it can be used for future investigations. Therefore it is important that you complete the site use form to document your work for the benefit of others. If you do not have required information for some fields, leave those fields blank and plan to provide that information later. Then, submit the form.

For more information or other questions, please contact:
Julia Murphy, Certified Education Specialist, Bent Creek Experimental Forest, 828-667-5261x104

Bent Creek Experimental Forest

Bent Creek Experimental Forest
1577 Brevard Road
Asheville, NC 28806

Phone: (828) 667-5261
Fax: (828) 667-9097