Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants (RWU 4552)

Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants (SRS RWU 4552)

Thank you for visiting the website for our research unit, “Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants,” part of the Southern Research Station Unit, USDA, Forest Service.

Our mission is to provide the basic biological and ecological knowledge and innovative management strategies required for management and control of native and non-native insect pests (including bark beetles and termites), pathogens and invasive plants in changing forest ecosystems.

Selected News and Events

Michael Ulyshen Receives U.S. Forest Service Early Career Scientist Award

Michael Ulyshen

February 25, 2015 on CompassLive

Michael Ulyshen is being recognized with the U.S. Forest Service Early Career Scientist Award, but his achievements in his short time with the Forest Service are remarkable. Ulyshen is a research entomologist with the Southern Research Station (SRS) Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants unit. During the last five years, he’s been first author on 34 peer-reviewed publications along with three book chapters, five invited presentations, and received international recognition.

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Guidelines for Regenerating Southern Pine Beetle Spots

December 4, 2014 on CompassLive

Guidelines for Regenerating Southern Pine Beetle Spots, a general technical report (GTR) by the Southern Research Station (SRS), provides detailed guidance for regenerating pines in areas within forest stands where trees have been killed by southern pine beetle.

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Taking Termites into Account

A pair of protected and unprotected bolts in flooded (left) and unflooded (right) plots in northeastern Mississippi. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

November 12, 2014 on CompassLive

Every homeowner in the Southeast knows about termites and the damage they can do to a house, but most people don’t think about them as forest insects. Termites are saproxylic, meaning they depend on dead or dying wood for at least part of their life cycle, and they play a major role in recycling dead wood in the forest. Though there’s quite a bit known about termites in houses, much less is known about the role they play in forests.

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With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Researchers in a 40-year-old privet stand within the forest. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.

July 15, 2014 on CompassLive

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a forest return to any semblance of its previous condition?

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Why is Cogongrass So Successful at Invading the South?

Cogongrass on the side of a forest road in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama. Photo by Rima Lucardi.

July 17, 2014 on CompassLive

In the South, many of our forests are crowded with invasive plants—English ivy, privet, oriental bittersweet and kudzu—to name just a few. These plants can often edge out the natives, reducing the diversity of understories and altering forests. Understanding how these plants arrived in the southeastern United States and adapted to thrive in local conditions can help with efforts to control and eradicate them.

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The 7th Annual Kent House Bug Day

Young participants at Bug Day pick out just the right bug tattoo. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

June 4, 2014 on CompassLive

“Yuck! You want me to eat what?!” turned into “Why, that’s pretty good! I can’t even tell that’s an insect,” at the recent Kent House Bug Day held in Alexandria, Louisiana.

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