Red Gum Research Natural Area image with personnel
Information gained from research and monitoring in RNAs is vital in evaluating the effects of management actions.

Research Natural Areas (RNAs) are areas that the Forest Service has designated to be permanently protected and maintained in natural condition. These protected natural areas include unique ecosystems or ecological features; rare or sensitive species of plants and animals and their habitat; and/or high-quality examples of widespread ecosystems.

More Information

  • About Research Natural Areas - there are more than 430 RNAs established nationally. The network of RNAs helps protect biological diversity at the genetic, species, ecosystem, and landscape scales.
  • Established Research Natural Areas in the Southern Region - there are currently 33 Research Natural Areas across 16 National Forests in 12 states and Puerto Rico (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TX, VA – Currently, no USFS RNAs exist in TN).
  • Applying to use Research Natural Areas - researchers, managers, or individuals interested in conducting studies, or making observations in RNAs may download the application.

Featured Publication

At the most basic level, RNAs help preserve our Nation's natural heritage for future generations. What we do not save today may soon be gone forever.

Click on the image to the left to view the publication (PDF; 2.2 MB). Requires free Adobe Reader software.