RMRS researchers work in a range of biological, physical and social science fields to promote sustainable management of the Nation's diverse forests and rangelands. The Station develops and delivers scientific knowledge and innovative technologies with a focus on informing policy and land-management decisions. Our researchers work in collaboration with a range of partners, including other agencies, academia, nonprofit groups, and industry. The Rocky Mountain Research Station serves the Forest Service as well as other federal and state agencies, international organizations, Tribes, academia, non-profit groups and the public.
Research has been part of the Forest Service mission since the agency’s inception in 1905. The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is an integral component of USDA Forest Service Research and Development (R&D). Forest Service R&D is comprised of five regional research stations (RMRS, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Southern Research Station, and Northern Research Station), Forest Products Laboratory, and International Institute of Tropical Forestry.
RMRS maintains 14 research laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Great Plains. The Station employs over 400 permanent full-time employees, including roughly 100 research scientists. While our research spans from local to global - the RMRS footprint includes four Forest Service Regions: Northern Region (Region 1), Rocky Mountain Region (Region 2), Southwest Region (Region 3), and Intermountain Region (Region 4).
RMRS administers and conducts ecological research on 14 experimental forests, ranges and watersheds over the long-term. Some of this research dates back over a century and offers invaluable insight into how forests change over time, particularly as we face a changing climate and new disturbance regimes.
We also oversee activities on several hundred research natural areas, a network of ecosystems set aside to conserve biological diversity. These areas represent a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems from alpine ecosystems to lowlands; and from coniferous forests of the Northern Rockies to semiarid deserts of the Southwest and prairie ecosystems of the Great Plains.
Shared stewardship is about working together in an integrated way to make decisions for the land. The USDA Forest Service (USFS) works collaboratively with stakeholders to set landscape-scale priorities and to invest in projects that will have the most impact. USFS Research & Development has played a key role in developing and supporting the USDA Shared Stewardship Strategy. Shared stewardship has always been, and will always be, a part of the way we do business at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Our scientists apply knowledge gained from decades of prior research to contemporary problems. Our research is aligned with the Forest Service 2020 Research and Development Priority Areas: improving the condition of America’s forests and grasslands, improving inventory and analysis techniques and technology, enhancing the wildland fire system, and improving the utilization of wood products. Our ability to respond to the issues of today and prepare for the issues of tomorrow is why Forest Service Research and Development is a world leader in natural resource sciences.