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University Forest

University Forest

Located 12 miles east of Morgantown, straddling the borders of Monongalia and Preston Counties, the University Forest is part of the original Coopers Rock State Forest. It is managed to support programs in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources under terms of a lease from the West Virginia State Division of Forestry. It is used extensively as an outdoor laboratory and is the only state-owned experimental and research forest in the state.

The forest is composed primarily of oak-hickory, oak-yellow popular and mixed hardwoods. It is predominantly an even-aged forest as a result of heavy logging in the 1930s, when the land was in private hands. The construction of the 6,000 square-foot Westvaco Natural Resources Center in 1997 expanded the teaching, research, and outreach capabilities at the University Forest. This facility houses a laboratory, meeting spaces, an open-air pavilion, a kitchen for catering, an office for the forest supervisor, and an apartment for visitors.

Research activities

  • Studying effects of diameter-limit cutting on structure and development of Appalachian hardwood stands
  • Nutrient cycling in a West Virginia forest ecosystem
  • Incorporating landscape patterns into long-term forest management plans.
  • Deer management
  • Oak regeneration
  • Forest thinning practices
  • Soil compaction
  • Logging practices
  • Forest certification