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Fernow Experimental Forest
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Fernow Research Data Archive


The Fernow Experimental Forest, a 4,600-acre outdoor laboratory and classroom, was established in 1934 and named for Bernhard Fernow, a pioneer in American forestry research. The early research program focused on the silviculture of mixed hardwood forests and watersheds of the central Appalachians. Current research topics include silviculture, hydrology, soil productivity, species restoration using fire, and acid deposition effects on forest ecosystems.

The Fernow, located in the Monongahela National Forest near Parsons, West Virginia, lies within the Allegheny Mountain section of the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. Elevations range from 1,750 to 3,650 feet; slopes generally are steep and soils shallow. The Fernow is a second-growth forest that developed after exploitive logging in the early 1900s and is classified as mixed mesophytic, having characteristics of both mixed-oak and northern hardwood forest types.

Data Description

Watershed research was begun on the Fernow in 1951 when different levels of harvesting and harvesting techniques were applied to several watersheds. Basic questions about forest hydrology and water use by forests, as well as important questions related to forest roads, best management practices, and forest management effects on water and soil resources have been research topics over the past 60 years. Long-term monitoring sites include seven gauged watersheds and two weather stations.

Database Access:

  • Fernow Data
    This project measures precipitation, streamflow, and stream chemistry on seven watersheds subjected to various treatments (see metadata for details). Air temperature and precipitation chemistry data are collected from two weather stations (one in the reference watershed and one near the mouth of two gauged treatment watersheds). Data have been collected since 1951, except for the chemistry data (collected since 1983). You can retrieve data from any of these data sets using the database query tool.

If you have questions about this website or have conducted a research study on the Fernow and would like to make your dataset available for use by others, please contact

Some supplemental data documentation available on this site may be provided in PDF or PDF/A format. Get the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to interpret these files.

Please choose a database:

Fernow Data