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Priest River Experimental Forest

View of PREF landscapeIn 1911 the Priest River Experimental Forest (PREF) was among the first sites to be set aside by the USFS for the purpose of conducting forest research. Since its establishment, numerous educators, FS researchers, and state and private forestry personnel have used the Forest. Research conducted by J.A. Larsen, Harry Gisborne, Ken Davis, Charles Wellner, and Irvine Haig provided information on basic forestry principles still used today for managing Rocky Mountain forests.

The range of elevations and aspects on the PREF supports several mixed-conifer forest types. The five major forest types include subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), grand fir (A. grandis), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and western redcedar (Thuja plicata) trees. Western hemlock occupies about half of the forest with equal distribution among the other tree species on the other half of the forest. More than 60% of the forest is in mid- to late-successional stages with trees 100 years or older. 

Research and Resources -

Fire Communication & Education:
One-hundred years of wildfire research: a legacy of the Priest River, Deception Creek, and Boise Basin Experimental Forests of Idaho 

Fire & Future Climate: 
Climate, snowpack, and streamflow of Priest River Experimental Forest, revisited

Fire History: 
Size class structure and tree dispersion patterns in old-growth cedar-hemlock forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains 

Fuels Assessments & Monitoring:
Treatments that enhance the decomposition of forest fuels for use in partially harvested stands in the moist forests of the Nothern Rocky Mountains (PREF)

Management Approaches:
Northern Rocky Mountain Experimental Forests: settings for science, management, and education alliances