H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest - United States of America
H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest
United States of America
The H.J. Andrews is a 16,000-acre ecological research site in Oregon's western Cascades Mountains. The landscape is home to iconic Pacific Northwest old-growth forests of Cedar and Hemlock, and moss-draped ancient Douglas Firs; steep terrain; and fast, cold-running streams.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The central question that has been guiding research since the 1990's is: "How do land use, natural disturbances, and climate affect three key ecosystem properties: carbon and nutrient dynamics, biodiversity, and hydrology?". The current funding cycle focuses on "connectivity" and applies our strengths in long-term research, outreach and education, and research-management partnerships to characterize the mechanisms that determine how forested mountain ecosystems respond to changes in climate, land-use, and their interactions. As with our previous funding cycle, we are continuing to explore the Andrews Forest as part of a coupled natural/human system by examining forest governance as essential for the understanding of long-term ecosystem dynamics.
Established in 1948 by the U.S. Forest Service, the Andrews Experimental Forest was originally designated the Blue River Experimental Forest. The then Regional Forester, Horace Justin Andrews, was a strong supporter of forest research, and was directly involved in selecting the location of the Experimental Forest near the community of Blue River, Oregon. After Mr. Andrew's untimely death in an automobile accident in Washington, D.C., the Experimental Forest was renamed in his honor in 1953. Over the more than 50 years since its inception, the Andrews Forest has had a rich and diverse research history, with major research foci changing over time. Efforts in the 1950's concentrated on increasing efficiency of forest operations, such as regeneration, road engineering, and logging systems appropriate for old-growth forests. Beginning in the 1960's USFS scientists initiated several groups of experimental manipulations in small watersheds designed to study the effects of logging on hydrology, sediment loads and nutrient losses. During the 1960's and 1970's, with funding from the National Science Foundation International Biological Program (IBP), collaborative research to examine the basic ecological processes that drive ecosystem functions in old-growth and managed forests and streams began between USFS researchers and scientists at Oregon State University. Researchers quantified nutrient fluxes and input- output budgets as part of international comparisons. They also established several dozen permanent forest vegetation plots, called reference stands. In 1980, the Andrews Experimental Forest became a charter member of the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. This program recognizes the central roles of long-term ecological processes, and the importance of sustained financing and continuing leadership for such research. Under the auspices of the LTER Program, researchers continued long-term studies in climate dynamics (e.g., temperature, precipitation), streamflow, water quality, population dynamics of sentinel terrestrial and aquatic species, and vegetation succession. These long-term measurements provided a backbone for basic scientific understanding of forest and stream ecosystems, and today constitute a basis for understanding and predicting effects of global climate change. Since the 1990's, Andrews Forest scientists have developed landscape level studies, and have begun testing methods of ecosystem management.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information