The Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) is located along Highway 17, just east of Chalk River, Ontario and is nested between Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa and Atomic Energy Canada Limited.  Originally known as the Petawawa Research Experiment Station (PFES) and then the Petawawa National Forest Institute (PNFI), the Petawawa Research Forest was established in 1918 by the Forestry Branch of the federal Department of the Interior (now the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada).  The PRF encompasses 10 000 ha in the northern area of the CFB Petawawa Reserve, and was established to protect and manage the forests of the Petawawa Military Reserve. The forest was seen as an opportunity to initiate a research program and to demonstrate applied silviculture that would advance the scientific foundations of forest management in Canada and abroad.

The PRF quickly grew to contain over 500 permanent research sample plots and close to 2000 experimental research plots.

Due to government funding cuts in 1996, research occurring at the PRF was strongly affected. Researchers were moved to various other forestry centers across the country, and several research activities were either disbanded or moved with the researchers to other centres.  The forest however remained intact.

Despite the cuts and closure of the main facilities, the PRF remained at the forefront of Canadian and global forestry research, pioneering systematic studies in silviculture, forest ecology, fire research, and tree breeding and genetics.

Numerous studies are ongoing throughout the forest, conducted by the Canadian Forest Service, academia, various provinces and industry.  The PRF remains a hub for forest research and continues to protect, preserve, and promote the forest's historical and scientific legacy.  The Petawawa Research Forest is also open to both the public and forest professionals to conduct continuing education programs through field demonstrations, tours and presentations.


To learn more about the Petawawa Research Forest please explore the following resources:

Canadian Research Forests Pamphlet

A Brief Overview of the Petawawa Research Forest

A Brief Overview of Permanent Sample Plot 1 and 2

Canada’s Oldest Permanent Sample Plots – Thinning in White and Red Pine
by D. Burgress & C. Robinson – Forestry Chronicle (1998) Vol. 74 (4) pp 606 -616.

Friends of the Petawawa Research Forest Website

PRF Trail Map

PRF Ski Trail Map