Research natural areas, important part of Forest Service mission, celebrated June 19

June 16, 2010

Oregon and Washington are home to 82 Forest Service-managed research natural areas (RNAs) and, on Saturday, June 19, these sites will be formally recognized as part of "Natural Areas Appreciation Day." The first-annual commemoration is designed to increase awareness of the importance of RNAs in ecological research and resource management.

"RNAs are an important component of local, regional, and global conservation efforts," said Todd Wilson, wildlife biologist and RNA coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Research conducted on RNAs has yielded a number of important findings, including some of our earliest knowledge of tree growth and yield in the Pacific Northwest and of old-growth forests' ecological importance."

Research Natural Areas are tracts of land formally designated for research, education, and conservation purposes. They are managed by federal, state, county, city, and private organizations for their natural ecological processes and serve as controls for research studies, baselines for management activities, and living laboratories for education. The sites are permanently protected for long-term study.

"Natural Areas Appreciation Day" was designated by the Pacific Northwest Interagency Natural Areas Committee, a consortium of individuals from 8 federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service; 10 state, county, and city agencies; and 2 nongovernmental organizations. The committee was formed in 1960 and has been working since then to promote the recognition, establishment, and management of RNAs in Oregon and Washington. Some of these managing agencies will be hosting field trips on June 19.
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To learn more about RNAs in the Pacific Northwest, browse Interagency Strategy for the Pacific Northwest Natural Areas Network, available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr798.pdf. Printed copies of the publication can be requested by emailing pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us or calling (503) 261-1211 and referencing "PNW-GTR-798."

The Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has 11 laboratories and centers in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.

USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
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