Andrews Forest LTER

Andrews Research Experience for Teachers (RET) fellow Kurt Cox shows teachers the field investigations he does with students at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest

Key Research Findings:

Andrews' scientists revealed the importance of dead trees to diversifying animal habitat and sustaining the flow of vital nutrients in forests and streams by tracking how fallen and standing deadwood changes as forests age. These studies profoundly influenced forest management by prioritizing the retention of dead wood in forests and streams.
The basic mechanisms for how temperatures change with elevation in mountain landscapes and how temperature inversions form in valleys have been understood for many years. Under "normal" circumstances, temperatures decrease at a known rate, the "lapse rate", with elevation.
By expanding river research from small streams to whole rivers, Andrews' scientists made key contributions to the "The River Continuum Concept." This concept transformed our understanding of rivers and their restoration by describing crucial linkages between rivers and their banks along their entire lengths - from headwaters to the mouth of intact river systems.


The Andrews Forest is situated in the western Cascade Range of Oregon in the 15,800-acre (6400-ha) drainage basin of Lookout Creek, a tributary of Blue River and the McKenzie River. Elevation ranges from 1350 feet (410 m) to 5340 feet (1630 m). Broadly representative of the rugged mountainous landscape of the Pacific Northwest, the Andrews Forest contains excellent examples of the region's conifer forests and associated wildlife and stream ecosystems.

The research program has been diverse throughout the history of the Forest, with the dominant themes changing over the years. Today, several dozen university and federal scientists use this LTER site as a common meeting ground, working together to gain basic understanding of ecosystems and to apply this new knowledge in management policy.

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The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest was established by the U.S. Forest Service in 1948. Over the more than 60 years since its inception, it has had a rich and diverse research history, with major research foci changing over time.

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Research Topics:

Successional changes in ecosystems; forest-stream interactions; population dynamics of forest stands; patterns and rates of decomposition; disturbance regimes in forest landscapes.

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