Brayton Memorial Forest
My semester research project will focus on Brayton Memorial Forest, a working research forest associated with Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Located in N.E. Iowa, Brayton Forest is a 307-acre diverse forest stand consisting of oaks, hickory, black walnut, butternut, soft and hard maple, and ash. The forest also provides habitat for pheasant, wild turkey, whitetail deer, rabbits, squirrels, and a variety of birds. An original survey of the property was completed in 1839 showing the forest dominated by oaks (red, white, black and bur), by the late 1850’s most of the timber had been harvested for railroad ties to support growing towns. The property was donated to Iowa State University by Emma L. Brayton in 1949.
I was first introduced to Brayton during a summer internship as part of my undergraduate studies in Forestry at ISU. During the summer I was tasked with conducting an inventory of black walnut stumpage, planting native tree species and amelioration of downed limbs and timber waste following an oak timber sale conducted the previous winter. I have often returned to Brayton as it contains many of the elements that first drew me to Forestry, preservation of a forest which provides multiple-use opportunities.
- Economic opportunities through timber harvesting.
- Varied wildlife habitat margins near agricultural areas or provided by harvesting.
- Uniquely wild portions reflecting Iowa in the 1800’s.
- Hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.