After living in the San Gabriel Valley for nearly 30 years, I thought I had seen and done everything nearby until I started researching about the forests of California. Partially due to proximity and also thanks to television news covering various fires over the years, nearby forests like Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, and San Bernardino National Forest are well known. But the San Dimas Experimental Forest (SDEF) right in my backyard? Until recently I did not even know it existed.
According to the US Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, the San Dimas Experimental Forest is the only experimental forest in Southern California. This forest is used to gather data for multiple organizations, such as US Forest Service, USDA, National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network, and UNESCO. Established in 1933, it was designed to study hydrology and ecology, but then it grew into many more research opportunities.
Listed as a Biosphere Reserve through UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). This organization gathers and studies scientific data to investigate just how people relate to their natural environment – a “landscapes for learning”, “experimental ecological reserve” or a “laboratory regions of sustainable development”. According to the MAB, there are 669 biosphere reserves located in 120 countries all over the world. Of that total number, America hosts 47 biosphere reserves. (more…)