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Black Hills Experimental Forest

[image] The Black Hills Experimental Forest is located about 20 miles northwest of Rapid City, South Dakota, and covers about 5.5 square miles in the ponderosa pine cover type near the center of the Black Hills National Forest. The area was designated as a experimental area in 1961. Past studies focused on management of ponderosa pine forests for multiple resource outputs including timber products, forage production for livestock and wildlife, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic values.

Ongoing research includes continuation of studies of long-term levels of growing stock in ponderosa pine, overstory/understory production relationships, initial spacing in ponderosa pine including impacts of root diseases and control of competing vegetation, silvicultural control of mountain pine beetle populations, and wildlife habitat. Installation of a ponderosa pine provenance study is planned for the near future in cooperation with the National Forest and Regions 2 and 3. The levels of growing stock study is part of a west-wide effort begun in the early 1960's to provide basic information on thinning responses in even-aged stands of ponderosa pine. Responsibility for permanent plot installations was transferred to RMRS-4451 with the termination of silvicultural research at the Forestry Sciences Lab in Rapid City in the early 1980's.

Except for experimental installations, the Experimental Forest was largely occupied by dense and declining stands of young ponderosa pine and declining stands of older trees. In the mid 1980's, a treatment plan and timber sale for the Experimental Forest was cooperatively developed by the Rocky Mountain Station, the Pactola Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest. The purpose of the treatment was to provide for diverse stand conditions over the area for demonstration and future research.

Climate

Black Hills has moderate climate with frequent summer showers.

Soils

Soils are derived from igneous schists and granites, lithic in places but generally productive.

Vegetation

At Black Hills, the ponderosa pine type predominates.

Long-Term Data Bases

There are no recorded climatic data, but long-term data on ponderosa pine growth are on file at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Research, Past and Present

Past studies at Black Hills focused on the management of ponderosa pine forests for multiple resource outputs, including timber products, forage production for livestock and wildlife, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic values. Ongoing research includes continuation of studies of long-term levels of growing stock in ponderosa pine, overstory/understory production relationships, initial spacing in ponderosa pine (including impacts of root diseases and control of competing vegetation), silvicultural control of mountain pine beetle populations, and wildlife habitat. A ponderosa pine provenance study of Black Hills sources also is being conducted. The levelsof- growing-stock study is part of a west-wide effort begun in the early 1960s to provide basic information on thinning responses in even-aged stands of ponderosa pine. An AMERIFLUX monitoring tower and instrument shelter were installed in 2000 by the South Dakota School of Mines and remain in use.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

The Black Hills has been and continues to be a contributor of valuable long-term growth data for use in the development and verification of tree-growth models.

Collaborators

The AMERIFLUX monitoring tower is operated by the South Dakota School of Mines.

Research Opportunities

Silviculture activities at Black Hills in the 1980s have provided a variety of stand and growing conditions that could be used in additional research in ponderosa pine forests.

Facilities

There are no facilities other than study sites.

Lat. 4410' N, long. 10338' W

Contact Information

Black Hills Experimental Forest
US Forest Service

Rocky Mountain Research Station
c/o Mike Battaglia
Fort Collins Sciences Lab
240 West Prospect Rd
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Tel: (970) 498-1286