Welcome to the UCSC-FERP!

The UCSC-FERP is a 16-ha mapped forest plot in Mediterranean-climate, mixed-evergreen coastal forest in the Santa Cruz mountains, along the Central Coast of California, USA. Located on the Campus Natural Reserve of the University of California Santa Cruz campus, it is both part of an extensive area of protected forest habitat and just a short walk from the UCSC laboratories and classrooms. Created entirely by UCSC student interns and assistants, and the site of numerous student research projects, it serves to foster research and inquiry-based teaching about ecology and evolutionary biology in a changing world.
The plot includes ~31,000 tagged woody individuals larger than 1 cm diameter, with 34 woody species from 30 genera and 18 families. Oaks, tanoaks, Douglas-fir, and redwoods together comprise 3/4 of all stems. We are excited to be part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute ForestGEO network, and follow their standardized protocols.
Click here to enjoy an introductory video to the FERP.


Inquiry-based learning on the FERP

All UCSC students are eligible for 2-unit FERP internships through the Environmental Studies internship program.  Internships require an average of 6 hours/week, with most spent in the forest.  Contact our UCSC Campus Natural Reserve agency sponsor Reserve Manager Alex Jones for more information. 


Research on the FERP

We welcome and encourage responsible research on the UCSC-FERP that complements our long-term research goals.  We strive to make our data freely accessible to researchers, and welcome observational and minimally manipulative studies in the forest.  Please see our page on data policy and available data, and contact FERP Director and Environmental Studies Professor Gregory Gilbert (ggilbert@ucsc.edu) for more information.

FERP Data and Resources

FERP 16ha Trail Map

We aim to make all FERP data readily available as soon as it is responsible to do so.  We ask that you keep us informed of publications and that you cite us appropriately.  See our Data page for available data, maps, and Data policy for how to recognize the hard work that went into creating the FERP.

Click here for the
Synoptic Key to UCSC plants

The UCSC-FERP has been established and supported by generous funding from the National Science Foundation (DEB-0515520, DEB-0842059,DEB-1655896), the Pepper-Giberson Chair in Environmental Studies, The UCSC Committee on Research, the UCSC Center for Teaching Excellence, and the Smithsonian Institute's Center For Tropical Forest Science (CTFS). The UCSC-FERP is part of the CTFS-ForestGEO network of mapped forest plots.