Brayton Memorial Forest

Brief History of Brayton Memorial Forest

Emma L. Brayton donated the 306.7 acre tract of land in Delaware County, Iowa, to Iowa State University in 1949 to be used as a demonstration and experimental forest. The original survey in 1839 showed the forest to be dominated by oaks (red, white, black, and bur), and by the 1850's most of the forest had been logged to extract the oak for railroad ties and to support the growing rail towns. The 1875 survey indicated a more diverse forest stand consisting of oaks, hickory, black walnut, butternut, soft and hard maple, and ash. Our understanding of the land management and regenerating forest form 1875 to the first university sanctioned survey in 1950 leaves a substantial gap in our working knowledge of the forest.

Brayton forest scene Brayton forest scene

Past Harvests

  • 2005 Walnut Salvage
  • 2003 Clearcut, Replant Demonstration, and Crop Tree Release
  • 1988 Oak Regeneration Study Harvest
  • 1981A Oak Timber Sale
  • 1981B Walnut Timber Sale
  • 1978 Mixed Hardwood Timber Sale
  • 1976 Mixed Hardwood Timber Sale
  • 1973 Mixed Hardwood Timber Sale
  • 1959 - 1951 Planned Harvest Cycle

Current Vision

Brayton forest sceneThe goal for ISU's Brayton Memorial Forest is to utilize the resource as a working productive forest that closely integrates hands-on demonstrations and applied research while providing the public with a safe multiuse area. This forest was historically dominated by oak, hickory, and walnut, and we aim to keep this area in a historically relevant composition. This restoration effort will take a tremendous amount of time and resources, but the forest should be and, in time, will be a showpiece for Iowa State University and the State of Iowa as a whole.

Read the complete 5 Year Management Plan.