Experimental Forest | Research and Farms | College of Agricultural Sciences | SIU

Southern Illinois University

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Experimental Forest

The Experimental Forest is made up of thousands of acres of forested land, owned by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It is made available to students and faculty for scientific research and hands-on teaching and learning opportunities.

A number of diverse experiments are conducted at the Experimental Forest. These range from building experimental horse trails and a test facility with custom instrumentation to study trail erosion and minimizing user impact on trails and the surrounding environment to figuring out new techniques in the effective management of recreational areas, natural areas and productive forested land. 

The experimental forest includes portions of forested land in: 

  • Touch of Nature Environmental Center
  • Thompson Woods, immediately adjacent to campus
  • The rugged, non-agricultural land section of University Farms 
  • Various other tracts of forested land (many received as Estate gifts for agricultural research) throughout Southern Illinois

The forest becomes a living lab for students, helping them conduct practical field exercises and learn about the natural management of forested resources.

The Experimental Forest serves as a vital, indispensable resource, helping students and faculty alike pursue a variety of tier-one research that is collaborative in nature and breaks new ground.