While many scientists conduct research relevant to wilderness, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute was established in 1993 as the only Federal research group entirely focused on wilderness. The Leopold Institute operates out of the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and is dedicated to developing the knowledge needed to protect and preserve wilderness character as well as the ecological and social values derived from wilderness and similarly managed lands.
Housed within the University of Montana's W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, the Wilderness Institute was established in 1975 to provide wilderness information, research, and interdisciplinary education and outreach opportunities. The Wilderness Institute was created by a group of scientists, educators, public land managers, and conservationists. Current research initiatives include the Citizen Science Program, which uses citizens to conduct wilderness character monitoring.
Embedded within the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Taylor Wilderness Research Station provides outstanding access, facilities and logistical support for research on natural environments and processes. The station’s remote location provides an abundance of unique research opportunities for study; projects undertaken by faculty and students include vegetation monitoring, wildlife surveys, stream ecology, wildfire impacts, cultural and anthropological studies, and economic impacts in wilderness use.
The Hubachek Wilderness Research Center operates from Ely, Minnesota, as an interdisciplinary facility focused on social and biophysical values associated with wilderness and wildland areas. It has been financed by the Wilderness Research Foundation and a private donor for more than 30 years.