USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Science that makes a difference.

The Pacific Southwest Research Station is a world leader in natural resources research through our scientific excellence and responsiveness to the needs of current and future generations.

We represent the research and development branch of the USDA Forest Service in the states of California and Hawaii and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands. Our primary work occurs in California (the most populous state with the fifth largest economy in the world) and Hawaii (a strategic location in the Pacific Rim economies and tourism). Our mission is to develop and communicate science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and their benefits to society.

[image-text]: What's New

Female woodland salamander subject animal. Photo credit:  Garth Hodgson, USDA Forest ServicePredation on invertebrates by woodland salamanders increases carbon capture - Woodland salamanders perform a vital ecological service in American forests by helping to mitigate the impacts of global warming. Global warming occurs when greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Woodland salamanders facilitate the capture of this carbon before it is released by feeding on invertebrates (beetles, earthworms, snails, ants, etc.) that would otherwise release carbon through consumption of fallen leaves and other forest debris. Woodland salamanders are the most common vertebrate species in American forests; consequently, these small, seldom-seen animals may play a significant role in regulating the capture of carbon from leaf litter in forest soils. [Read the full news release at]

From left to right, Flint Hughes, USDA Forest Service, and Rebecca Most, The Nature Conservancy, transport debris across the anchialine pool to a staging area where it will be chipped into mulch. Photo credit:  Mel Dean, USDA Forest ServicePSW’s Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry help restore ancient Hawaiian fishpond - Research station staff helped to restore an ancient Hawaiian Kīholo fishpond, which was once a vital food source and critical habitat for rare invertebrate species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Staff cleared debris from the pool perimeter to reduce nutrient loading caused by overhanging vegetation, as well as removed weeds and tended to native plants within a fenced unit that will be used as a nursery area for future restoration activities.

Learn more about the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry on the Institute's program page.

Multi-lane freeway containing many cars is surrounded on both sides with roadside vegetation Integrating vegetation into sustainable transportation planning may benefit public health - In recent years, the health of people living, working, or going to school near roads with high traffic volume has been a rising national concern. Studies conducted in the United States and throughout the world have shown that air pollution levels are especially elevated near high-volume roadways. A multidisciplinary group of researchers, planners and policymakers recently gathered in Sacramento, Calif. to discuss roadside vegetation as a viable option for mitigating these adverse health impacts from air pollution. The group combined their key concerns and findings for an article in TR News magazine. [Read the full news release at]

Comparison of stand 9 tree inventory conditions in 1929 versus 2008,  showing stand 9 contains more trees in 2008 than in 1929 Seventy-nine years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change - Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn. A team of scientists led by Research Ecologist Dr. Eric Knapp, from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, found dramatic differences in forests today compared to historic conditions prior to logging and fire suppression. [Read the full news release at]

Tracy Johnson holds his U.S.D.A. Secretary's Honor Award and stands next to Agriculture Sectretary Tom VilsackPSW researcher receives USDA Secretary's Honor Award - PSW Research Entomologist Dr. Tracy Johnson received a prestigious USDA Secretary's Honor Award in the category of protecting natural resources. Dr. Johnson led the Forest Service's international search to identify insect species for use as host-specific biological control agents against invasive plants in Hawaii. His 13 year effort culminated in the release of leaf gall-forming scale insects to help regulate the strawberry guava invasive plant species.

For more information on this subject, visit our topic area on Biological Control of Strawberry Guava in Hawaii.

Missed it when it was new? Browse the What's New archive.

[image-text]: Recent Publications

Cover image psw-gtr-244Pope, Karen; Brown, Catherine; Hayes, Marc; Green, Gregory; Macfarlane, Diane, tech. coords. 2014. Cascades frog conservation assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-244. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 116 p.

Cover image psw-rp-266 Hugh D. Safford and Kip M. Van de Water. 2014. Using Fire Return Interval Departure (FRID) Analysis to Map Spatial and Temporal Changes in Fire Frequency on National Forest Lands in California. Res. Pap. PSW-RP-266. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 59 p.

Cover image psw-gtr-242Tedmund J. Swiecki and Elizabeth A. Bernhardt. 2013. A Reference Manual for Managing Sudden Oak Death in California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-242. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 129 p.

[image-text]: Featured Science

Global Climate Change

Last Modified: Mar 20, 2014 07:51:17 PM