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Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest

Mc Arthur, Ohio

Upland oaks on Vinton-Furnace Experimental ForestIn 1952, the Baker Wood Preserving Company set aside 486 ha of land as the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest for use by the USDA Forest Service’s Central States Forest Experiment Station, Columbus, Ohio. This area served as the field lab for a research unit at Athens, Ohio. Early research included farm forestry, pine conversion, and cutting practice demonstrations. A decade later, the Mead Corporation purchased the land and maintained the relationship with the Forest Service. The land is now owned by the Ohio Division of Forestry and co-managed by the Northern Research Station’s NRS-02 (Sustainable Forests in a Changing Environment) . Thousands of people visit the Vinton each year for meetings, training, and tours. The area consists of a steeply dissected topography of ridges and hollows with elevations ranging from 200 to 300 m.

Climate

Mean annual temperature at the Vinton Furnace is 11.3 °C, which includes below-freezing temperatures during January. Precipitation, mostly rain, is distributed throughout the year with a mean annual precipitation of 1,024 mm. The growing season consists of 158-day frostfree days.

Soils

Soils at the Vinton Furnace are unglaciated silt loam derived from sandstones, siltstones, and shales, sometimes with scattered, discontinuous limestone beds.

Vegetation

The Vinton Furnace comprises upland mixed-oak forests with chestnut oak on the ridgetops, tending to scarlet and black oak downslope, with white oak, red maple, and hickories midslope blending to yellow-poplar and Ohio buckeye in the mesic areas. Scattered areas of shortleaf pine and eastern hemlock account for most of the conifers found in the area. More than 50 tree species are found within the borders of Vinton Furnace.

Research, Past and Present

Past studies concentrated on silvicultural practices, regeneration, and growth and yield of desirable hardwood species. Current research focuses on the effects of using thinning and prescribed fire to restore mixed oak ecosystems and fire behavior and dynamics.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

Some of the earliest clearcutting research was performed at Vinton Furnace. Results of these studies formed the basis for the recommendations published in Even-Aged Silviculture for Upland Central Hardwoods (USDA Agriculture Handbook 355). Stocking charts were developed with data from the stand-density studies which were used to produce the GROAK and OAKSIM growth and yield simulators. A GIS-based moisture index to predict plant associations across a landscape has been constructed. Vinton Furnace is one of the first sites to conduct ecosystem-based studies on the effects of fire in the central hardwood region.

Collaborators

Researchers from Ohio State University, Ohio University, Hocking College, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wayne National Forest, Ohio Biological Survey, Ohio Lepidopterists, Nature Conservancy, Purdue University, University of North Carolina, and other Forest Service research units have worked at Vinton Furnace.

Research Opportunities

As part of the Forest Service’s National Fire and Fire Surrogates Ecosystem Study, the Vinton Furnace offers landscape-scale thinning, burning, and control treatment areas with many components of the ecosystem well documented and monitored. Collateral, multidiscipline studies are continually being added to these areas.

Facilities

The headquarters area of the Vinton Furnce near McArthur, Ohio contains a large meeting/training center, quarters for eight visiting scientists and technicians, office equipment, and a weather station.

Lat. 39°11′ N, long. 82°22′ W

Contact Information

USDA Forest Service
Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest
6468 Pleasant Hill Road
Athens, OH 45701
Tel: (740) 596-4238

Related Publications

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Apsley, D. and Yaussy, D.A. 2005. U.S. Forest Service and partners investigate: Fires and thinning effects on oak regeneration in southern Ohio. The Ohio Woodland Journal 12: 25-26.

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Artman, V. L.; Dettmers, R. 2003. Breeding bird communities. In: Characteristics of mixed-oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Sutherland, E. K.; Hutchinson, T. F., eds. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. pp. 139-156.

Artman VL, Sutherland EK, Downhower JF. 2001. Prescribed burning to restore mixed-oak communities in southern Ohio: effects on breeding-bird populations. Conservation Biology 15(5):1423-34.

Boerner R. 2000. Effects of fire on the ecology of the forest floor and soil of central hardwood forests. Pp 56-63 in: Proceedings: Workshop on Fire, People, and the Central Hardwoods Landscape. Compiled by DA Yaussy USDA Forest Service, GTR NE-274.

Boerner REJ, Brinkman JA. 1999. Effects of fire on soil N and N mineralization at two spatial scales in mixed oak forests. Proceedings Soil Ecology Society. Chicago, IL: Soil Ecology Society. p 20.

Boerner REJ, Brinkman JA. 2001. Does repeated prescribed fire in oak-hickory forests result in changes in microbial community properties, or, is resistance futile? The Soil Ecology Society Conference. 2001 a soil odyssey. p p. 15.

Boerner. R.E.J.; Brinkman, J.A. 2003. Fire frequency and soil enzyme activity in southern Ohio oak-hickory forests. Applied Soil Ecology 23: 137-146.

Boerner, R.E.J. and Brinkman, J.A. 2004. Spatial, temporal, and restoration treatment effects on soil resources in Ohio hardwood forests. Edited by Daniel A. Yaussy, David M. Hix, Robert P. Long, and P. C. Goebel. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station , Newtown Square, PA pp. 241-254.

Boerner, R.E.J., Brinkman, J.A., and Smith, A. 2005. Seasonal variations in enzyme activity and organic carbon in soil of a burned and unburned hardwood forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 37: 11419-1426.

Boerner REJ, Decker KLM, Sutherland EK. 2000. Prescribed burning effects on soil enzyme activity in a southern Ohio hardwood forest: a landscape-scale analysis. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32:899-908.

Boerner, R. E. J.; Morris, S. J.; Decker, K. L. M.; Hutchinson, T. F. 2003. Soil and forest floor characteristics. In: Characteristics of mixed-oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Sutherland, E. K.; Hutchinson, T. F., eds. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. pp.47-56.

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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: 01/08/2013