White Mountain National Forest Research Natural Areas

Personnel: Sean MacFaden, David Capen

Cooperators: Steve Fay, White Mountain National Forest


To facilitate its research on dynamic processes in forested environments, the White Mountain National Forest is working to identify ecologically-diverse areas in the forest that are minimally affected by human activities. As part of this effort, the WMNF has identified management areas (categories 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 8.1, 9.1, and 9.3) that may serve as potential locations for the establishment of study sites called research natural areas (RNAs). Because little or no active silvicultural management occurs in these areas, the effects of human disturbance on ecological processes are expected to be minimal. However, a second preliminary step in the establishment of RNAs is the identification of areas within the selected management areas that have low trail density and a large number of different ecological land types (ELTs). Theoretically, such areas will provide the desired combination of minimal human influence and high ecological diversity

The following map provides a combined index of trail density and ELT richness:


       Updated: 28 June 2000