USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Natural Areas

Church Dome RNA

The Research Natural Area (RNA) program is a nationwide system created to protect a network of federally administered public lands for the primary purposes of maintaining biological diversity, providing baseline ecological information, and encouraging research and university natural-history education. Areas selected exemplify minimally disturbed ecosystems representative of the range of widespread and unique natural vegetation types on federal lands. Non-manipulative research, monitoring, and education are promoted on these RNA lands.

In California, the RNA program is administered jointly by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and Pacific Southwest Region and protects some of the finest examples of natural ecosystems in the state.

Flower Close Up

The Forest Service RNAs in California represent a wide range of habitats, including coastal forests, desert, valley grasslands, and high-alpine ecosystems. There are presently 60 established Research Natural Areas in California. The oldest RNA in California is Indiana Summit RNA, established in 1932 on the Inyo National Forest; additional RNAs are being established annually. More than 35 areas are in various stages of review and evaluation, pending establishment.

The Research Natural Areas Program is administered jointly by Pacific Southwest Research Station headquartered in Albany, California and the Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) of the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.