Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley
University of California
Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley

Blodgett Forest Research Station


Blodgett Forest, situated on the Georgetown Divide, consists of high site mixed conifer forest, oak forest, and brushland Gradients on a gently rolling topography with an average slope of less than 30 percent. Elevation on the main tract ranges from 3,900' to 4,800' (1,200 m to 1,500 m). Three major creeks flow through the Forest. Over 400 species of plants on the property provide habitat for 150 species of animals.Four major soil types are found on Blodgett. The soils derived from granodiorite parent materials are Holland, Piliken-variant and Musick. The Cohasset soil is formed from andesitic parent materials. In these soils conifers can grow to heights of 27-34 m (90-110′) and diameters of 46 66 cm (18-26″) after 50-60 years. This land is representative of the more productive forestland in California. Weather data have been recorded on a daily basis since 1961. Annual precipitation averages 166 cm (65″) with a range of 580-2740 mm (23 – 108″). Annual snowfall averages 2540 mm (100″). Summer temperatures range from 14-C to 27 C (57-80 degrees F) and winter temperatures from 0 C to 9 C (32-48 degrees F).

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Dominant Usage

The scientific value of Blodgett has grown with the corresponding increase of the demands on natural resources. Blodgett Forest research has a fifty-year history which includes studies of tree growth, forest succession, harvesting costs, forest insect and disease dynamics, forest ecology, wildlife population dynamics, range animal dynamics, control of non-tree vegetation, thinning and spacing of commercial conifers, soil compaction from logging operations, effects and techniques of prescribed fire, conifer regeneration methods, harvesting methods, nutrient cycling, and much more.

Support for research is provided in the form of facilities, equipment loans, etc. This support is financed by sales of forest products and by grants from the USDA Forest Service, the National Science Foundation, and the University of California Agricultural Experiment Station.

The goals, objectives and administration of the forest as a whole as well as for the individual forest compartments are described in the Blodgett Management Plan and Policies Oct 2012. A major mission of Blodgett Forest is to evaluate response, cost, and impacts of different management activities. The forest is divided into approximately 90 compartments, which have an average size of 13 hectares (33 acres). Each compartment’s management is designated as even-aged, uneven-aged, or reserve. Measurements are made of animals and vegetation on the entire forest, and state-of-the-art analyses involving computer simulation and geographic information systems are used.

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The area of which Blodgett Forest Research Station is a part has had a history of periodic fires. Prior to the displacement by European immigrants, the Native Americans regularly set fires to maintain and improve habitat for deer and other game animals. Fires occurred at a frequency of one fire every 7-20 years prior to the Gold rush of 1849.After 1849, European immigrants homesteaded this area. They brought livestock which grazed in the forest. Logging operations removed sugar pine and ponderosa pine in the early years. Parts of the forest were logged by oxen teams in the late 1890′s, while ground lead, steam equipment was used in the period between 1900 to 1910. Regeneration following logging was accomplished by natural seeding. All-consuming fires occurred in 1903 and 1919. The fire of 1919 resulted in brush fields in the southern part of the property. The last old logging operations occurred in 1927, but logging occurred in 1952 and then resumed on an annual basis in 1961. Most of the forest has been logged at least once and some parts have been harvested as many as four times.Blodgett Forest was donated to the University of California by the Michigan-California Lumber Company in 1933. The purpose of the gift was to provide a research site and practical demonstrations of forestry for students, forest industry, and the public. The second-growth characteristics of the forest allow many opportunities to study and evaluate alternative management strategies. 

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Trail of Epiphany 

The Trail of Epiphany is a self-guided tour located at Blodgett Forest Research Station. The 3 mile Trail of Epiphany will take you on a self guided tour through the various management alternatives and research done at Blodgett Forest and beyond. 

Download the Trail of Epiphany Flyer

For questions about the trail, contact Ariel Thomson, Forester, at

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