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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 3, 2011

Experimental forests home to Southwest Experimental Garden Array

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Two USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station experimental forests in Arizona, Fort Valley and Long Valley, have been included as sites for a network of 10 research gardens across northern Arizona as part of the Southwest Experimental Garden Array (SEGA).

This research development project is made possible by a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to Northern Arizona University (NAU). The 10 research gardens represent natural habitats ranging from desert to alpine forests and will be used in future studies to examine how climate change affects the ecology and evolution of plants and ecosystems.

This collaborative project will establish the technically advanced infrastructure for new research on climate change effects. Researchers from multiple disciplines will be able to evaluate the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on: 1) Foundation plant species that drive ecosystems, 2) Associated insect, microbial and understory communities, 3) Native-exotic species interactions, and 4) Ecosystem processes that emerge from these interactions. This garden array can provide genetics information that will help make better informed assessments of the impact of climate change on individual species, communities and ecosystems, which in turn will help design more resilient land management and restoration projects.

SEGA is a partnership involving NAU, USGS, BLM, National Park Service, Babbitt Ranches, The Nature Conservancy, Walnut Creek Center for Education and Research, the Arboretum at Flagstaff and the USDA FS (RMRS, Coconino and Prescott National Forests). SEGA fits well within the mission of the experimental forests that are dedicated to long-term studies on forest biology, ecology, and genetics to improve forest and range management.

The RMRS is one of seven regional units that make up the USDA Forest Service Research and Development organization – the most extensive natural resources research organization in the world. The Station maintains 12 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Great Basin, and administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges, and watersheds, while maintaining long-term databases for these areas. To find out more about the RMRS and the Experimental Forests and Ranges, go to www.fs.fed.us/rmrs and www.fs.fed.us/research/efr.

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