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Natural History

At 14,378 acres Bernheim Forest is a significant block of contiguous forest in Kentucky, forming a portion of the largest forest block outside of the Appala­chian Plateau. Much of the forest is between 80-100 years of age, with much of it being logged in the period before acquisition by Isaac W. Bernheim in 1929. Evidence of the logging operations exists today in iron furnace remnants, charcoal piles, and splash dam remnants. Very few trees were spared during the logging operations of the late 19th century. Additional logging occured for red cedar and white oak during the period of World War II. Since incorpora­tion in the Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation, there has been little manipulation of the forest. Much of Bernheim Forest is reaching maturity and developing the characteristics of old growth. A goal for management will be to continue to facilitate successsion towards old growth forest designation during the next 50 years.