Experimental Forests

The USDA Forest Service has 79 Experimental Forest and Ranges across the United States, providing places for long-term science and management studies in major vegetation types across the US. These valuable scientific resources incorporate a broad range of climates, forest types, research emphasis, and history.

In 1908 the Forest Service began to establish a network of Experimental Forests, primarily within National Forests, to research pressing issues regarding the rehabilitation and conservation of depleted forest and rangelands. The Forest Watershed Science Work Unit 4353 manages two of the 19 Experimental Forests maintained by the Southern Research Station. The Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory Experimental Forest, located in the Southern Appalachians of North Carolina, and the Santee Experimental Forest, located in the South Atlantic Coastal Plain forested landscape of South Carolina.

Experimental forests may also be used for research purposes by universities and resource management organizations.

Many experimental forests also provide forest management demonstrations, tours, interpretive trails, and other educational materials to enhance public understanding of forest management principles.

Nonmotorized recreation activities are permitted on designated trails within some experimental forests. When you visit experimental forests, please follow the rules and remember that the primary designation of these areas is for research on forest ecology and management; research study sites must not be disturbed.