MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- BLUE RIVER: A long term research program at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest will continue for another six years, thanks to a $6.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LETR) is focused on understanding ecological phenomena that occur over a long time span. More than two dozen sites around the country are part of the program.

The Andrews LETR project is designed to understand how climate and land use changes interact to affect forest and stream ecosystems. It will continue to build upon past work by using records from weather stations and stream gages scattered throughout the watershed to reveal how temperature and precipitation vary across the landscape, and how they have changed over time. Researchers will also study how air, water, and nutrients flow through the landscape.



Some studies are designed to evaluate how physical aspects of the landscape affect plants and animals that live there. Other research will focus on how pockets of cold air, which accumulate in topographic low points, may influence tree health, and whether climate-induced drought stresses old-growth forests less than younger stands of trees. Further studies will track how changes in climate and land use might lead to mismatches between the timing of plant cycles, including growth and flowering, and the cycles of the insects and animals.

The Andrews Forest, established in 1948 as a US Forest Service experimental forest, encompasses 16,000 acres. The role of human activities occurring during that timeframe will be looked at as well, along with the role of science in shaping human decision-making. which spans several policy shifts in forest management strategies, - to understand how prevailing attitudes translate into action.

The Andrews Forest is open to the public for tours and events, and welcomes writers, artists, teachers, students, and citizen scientists throughout the year. Much of the forest is under snow and inaccessible during the winter months, and that high elevation roads and trails can stay snow-bound into June. For more information, go to: http://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/lter/about/visiting.cfm