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UCI Nature

UC Natural Reserve System

The UC Natural Reserve System is a network of 39 protected natural areas throughout California. Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the earth.

UCI has three natural areas in the UC Natural Reserve System.

  • Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve –The Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve has a diverse mixture of flora and fauna characteristic of both deserts and mountains.
  • San Joaquin Marsh Reserve – San Joaquin Marsh Reserve protects a variety of wetland habitats, including marshlands, shallow ponds, and channels confined by earthen dikes.
  • Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center – This research center is located in the town of Borrego Springs and adjacent to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, one of the largest desert protected areas in the west.

UCI has several other environmental facilities on and near campus that are available for conducting research, providing training, and interacting with the public.

  • Arboretum and Herbarium – This botanic garden and research facility supports research projects conducted by students, post-doctoral scholars and faculty.
  • UCI Greenhouse – This 9,000-square-foot greenhouse has 15 growth areas that are individually programmable for temperature. It supports teaching and research.
  • UCI Ecological Preserve – Part of the main campus, the UCI Ecological Preserve consists of coastal sage scrub and disturbed grassland habitats, and sustains two sensitive bird species.
  • Crystal Cove State Park & Marine Research Facility – UCI, in partnership with Crystal Cove State Park and the Crystal Cove Alliance, supports the Crystal Cove research facility for use in small-scale and low-impact scientific research.
  • Nature Communities Coalition – UCI is a partner of NCC, a nonprofit charitable organization that coordinates science and land management for the Natural Reserve of Orange County that has roughly 38,000 acres of permanently protected open space.
  • South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) – South Coast REC serves as a regional field laboratory for UC scientists to conduct agricultural and natural resources management research.