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  History

Horace Justin Andrews

Established in 1948 by the U.S. Forest Service, the Andrews Experimental Forest was originally designated the Blue River Experimental Forest. The then Regional Forester, Horace Justin Andrews, was a strong supporter of forest research, and was directly involved in selecting the location of the Experimental Forest near the community of Blue River, Oregon. After Mr. Andrew's untimely death in an automobile accident in Washington, D.C., the Experimental Forest was renamed in his honor in 1953.

Over the more than 50 years since its inception, the Andrews Forest has had a rich and diverse research history, with major research foci changing over time. Efforts in the 1950's concentrated on increasing efficiency of forest operations, such as regeneration, road engineering, and logging systems appropriate for old-growth forests. Beginning in the 1960's USFS scientists initiated several groups of experimental manipulations in small watersheds designed to study the effects of logging on hydrology, sediment loads and nutrient losses. Three small watersheds were clearcut and burned according to the practice of the time (WS1 1963-66, WS6 1974, WS10 1975, no burn), two were partially cut (WS3 1964, WS7 1974) and three basins of similar size, elevation and aspect were left as reference sites (WS2, WS8 and WS9).

Dick Fredrikson at Watershed One Snow & Rain Gauge, 1962, photographer unknown
Jerry Franklin at Watershed One, 1962, photographer unknown

During the 1960's and 1970's, with funding from the National Science Foundation International Biological Program (IBP), collaborative research to examine the basic ecological processes that drive ecosystem functions in old-growth and managed forests and streams began between USFS researchers and scientists at Oregon State University. Researchers quantified nutrient fluxes and input- output budgets as part of international comparisons. They also established several dozen permanent forest vegetation plots, called reference stands. These plots have been central to interdisciplinary studies on vegetation diversity, productivity, biomass, leaf area, stand structure, and successional patterns -- the reference stands have served as "bench marks" for dozens of studies, and continue to be important sites for research.

In 1980, the Andrews Experimental Forest became a charter member of the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. This program recognizes the central roles of long-term ecological processes, and the importance of sustained financing and continuing leadership for such research. Under the auspices of the LTER Program, researchers continued long-term studies in climate dynamics (e.g., temperature, precipitation), streamflow, water quality, population dynamics of sentinel terrestrial and aquatic species, and vegetation succession. These long-term measurements provided a backbone for basic scientific understanding of forest and stream ecosystems, and today constitute a basis for understanding and predicting effects of global climate change. Since the 1990's, Andrews Forest scientists have developed landscape level studies, and have begun testing methods of ecosystem management.

Group of Researchers and Students at HJA Daze, photographed by Pam Druliner..... Date: 6/94
Jay Sexton installs a collar on a log for CO2 flux measurements. Photographed by Lina DiGregorio ..... Date: 8/22/2007

Presently, the major research themes at the Andrews Forest continue to examine disturbance processes, landscape and water dynamics, carbon sequestration and fluxes, as well as influences on biological diversity, forest-stream interactions, spotted owl demography, soil and watershed processes, and long-term site productivity. Long term data are being examined for trends over time and magnitude of climate change impacts and many new research projects begin each year. What began as a small group of Forest Service scientists working in relative isolation during the 1950's, has expanded into a multifaceted, interdisciplinary program of research with over 100 different projects in a given year.