The Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) is the leader in ecological sciences in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York and a major contributor to international, place-based research. The mission of the AEC is to understand the Adirondack ecosystem through research and education.
The AEC was established in 1971 by the State University of New York College of Environmental Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse. AEC is located on ESF's Huntington Wildlife Forest, a 15,000 acre (6,000 ha) field station in Newcomb, NY in the geographic center of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.
The AEC and amenities at the Newcomb Campus attract researchers from throughout the world, providing a base of operation for research on the natural and cultural systems of the Northern Forest. AEC conducts and facilitates the science that underpins the management of Adirondack Park, one of the world's foremost experiments in conservation and sustainability.
Over eighty years of research have been incorporated into over 30 ongoing monitoring efforts. The Adirondack Long-term Ecological Monitoring Program (ALTEMP) currently monitors over 100 physical, chemical, and biological attributes to provide the long-term perspective necessary to detect changes and identify trends in the Adirondack ecosystem. More than 70 ongoing basic and applied research programs investigate the restoration of wildlife, development of new forestry, impact of acidic deposition on soils and lakes, social organization of deer, movement of soil ions, silvicultural regimes, Adirondack Park biodiversity, and much more. Nearly 200 graduate degrees stem from studies conducted at this site to date.
The Newcomb Campus is home to the Adirondack Interpretive Center, a public education facility. Also located on the Newcomb Campus is the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training (NFI) with a focus on education, leadership and stewardship of both natural and designed environments.
Combining modern housing, a dining center and meeting rooms with a remote and spectacular wilderness setting, the Newcomb Campus provides a retreat-like atmosphere for educational programs and meetings. Programs can be conducted any time of year and can span days to weeks. Most research, short courses, and meetings are developed by faculty at ESF, but about 30 percent of program activities are conducted by scientists and professionals from other institutions and governmental agencies.