Northern Forest Science & Applications

Northern Forest Science & Applications

We provide science and tools to strengthen northern forests and communities,
now and into the future

We conduct research to understand ecological processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the northern forest, determining impacts of change on these ecosystems, and providing a scientific basis for managing ecosystems for long-term sustainability. Ecosystems of the northeastern and north central United States provide numerous services, including clean air and water, forest products, wildlife and fish habitat, and recreation opportunities. In turn, management to provide these services affects ecosystem processes.

Challenges include understanding how ecosystems change in response to natural and human-caused disturbances and developing and evaluating management systems that provide ecosystem services while adapting to change. We aim to discover new ecological knowledge that land managers can use as they develop strategies for meeting the increasing demands on forest ecosystems and sustaining the many environmental services that people expect (and need) from forests.

Research Missions

  • Ecosystem Processes: Develop fundamental knowledge regarding forest ecosystem processes critical to forest management and conservation in the context of environmental change to support those whose livelihood depends on northern forests.

  • Scaling and Applications: Develop and deliver effective tools to help managers and communities scale up intensive site-based studies, such as stand-level experiments, to larger landscapes, such as multi-state regions or ecoregions.

Featured Partnerships


The WaYS (Wabanaki Youth in Science) program is a collaboration involving the University of Maine at Orono, the U.S. Forest Service, Wabanaki tribes, and Native American high school students across the state. Its goal is to help Native American students develop an interest in science and possibly pursue it in college.

Experimental Forests

The Northern Forest Science and Applications Unit is responsible for oversight of 14 of the 24 experimental forests managed by the Northern Research Station



Last Modified: December 4, 2018