Fernow Experimental Forest

Current Research

Current research studies on the Fernow fall into two broad categories: the effects of different silvicultural prescriptions and the effects of acid deposition on the forest ecosystem.

[photo:] Tree-diameter measurements are collected every 10 years on research compartment 8B.Silviculture

Silviculture studies evaluate many commonly and some less commonly used management prescriptions to determine which systems or combinations will allow land managers to achieve their goals while maintaining healthy forests and protecting water and wildlife resources. These management prescriptions include harvesting types and intensities, thinning, and prescribed fire to control competing vegetation.  The range of site quality within Fernow forest stands allows results to be applied more broadly across all of the central Appalachians.

[photo:] Air-quality monitoring site.Acid Deposition

Acid deposition studies use whole-watershed or plot-based comparisons to determine the effects of elevated levels of sulfur and nitrogen deposition on many ecosystem components, including stream water quality, soil and soil water chemistry, and vegetative growth and diversity.  These studies have application to much of the United States, as well as to other parts of the globe, including rapidly developing countries where air pollution emissions often are poorly regulated.