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Experimental forest designated

TRUCKEE (AP) – For the first time in more than 40 years, the Forest Service has established a new experimental forest in California to study management techniques and reduce wildfire threats in the Sierra Nevada.

The agency is teaming with the University of California, Berkeley, to designate the Sagehen Experimental Forest about 10 miles north of Truckee and 30 miles west of Reno.

The 8,100-acre area will be managed by the university, the Tahoe National Forest and the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.

“This designation will increase the opportunities of scientists throughout the west to share the results of research conducted over decades in the Sierra Nevada,” said Jim Sedell, director of the research station.

Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth formally approved the designation on Monday, creating California’s 11th experimental forest and the first since 1962.He said such forests have played an important role in improving management of forest resources throughout their history.

The forest includes the Sagehen Creek Field Station that has been operated by the university under special use permit from the Tahoe National Forest since 1951.

Researchers for the school and the national forest have been working cooperatively for years and recently initiated an analysis for the Sagehen area intended to design a strategic fuel reduction plan to lessen the intensity of wildfires, agency officials said.

The research station administers a network of experimental forests in California, where scientists conduct long-term research into questions related to forest management.

The Sagehen Creek Field Station provides facilities for research and education in biology, fisheries, forestry, hydrology, entomology and wildlife.

It also serves as the hub for a network of research at Sagehen Creek Field Station, Sagehen Basin Experimental Forest, the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, Onion Creek Experimental Forest and cooperating private landowners in the drainage of the Upper North Fork American River drainage.