The Rocky Mountain Research Station is one of five regional units that make up the US Forest Service Research and Development organization — the most extensive natural resources research organization in the world. We maintain 12 research locations 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.
Scientists conduct research that spans an area containing 52% of the nation's National Forest System lands (54 National Forests and Grasslands). In the lower 48 states, our territory also includes 55% of the nation's BLM lands; 48% of the designated wildernesses; 37% of National Park Service lands; numerous other public and tribal lands; and 41% of the non-urban/rural private lands.
We administer and conduct ecological research on 14 experimental forests, ranges and watersheds over the long-term, even centuries, enabling us to learn how forests change as climate and other factors change over time.
We also oversee activities on several hundred
research natural areas,
a network of ecosystems set aside to conserve biological diversity. The 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.