Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent…  More 

Protecting Hardwood Resources

Trees provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and beauty. Trees are also vital to local economies. “In 2015, Kentucky had 193 hardwood sawmills,” says USDA Forest Service research forester Tom Brandeis. “That same year, Tennessee had 226 hardwood sawmills.” Each state produced more than 700 million board feet of hardwood lumber in 2015. Higher…  More 

Vernal Crayfish Life History and Habitat Use

What to call a freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster? USDA Forest Service scientist Zanethia Barnett has a clever answer: “I study crayfish, but I eat crawfish.” More than half of the nation’s 357 species of crayfish — also known as crawdads, mudbugs, or yabbies — can be found in the Southeast. Crayfish break…  More 

Rediscovering the Yalobusha Rivulet Crayfish

In 1989, Joseph Fitzpatrick discovered the Yalobusha rivulet crayfish (Hobbseus yalobushensis). After the species description was published, silence reigned. For the next 29 years, no studies focused on the species. “That’s not uncommon,” says USDA Forest Service aquatic ecologist Susan Adams. “We know very little about the ecology and life history of many crayfish species.”…  More 

Invasive Plants Follow Land Abandonment after Hurricane Katrina

The lot is overgrown, crowded with unruly shrubs, vines, and waist-high weeds. It is littered with old tires and garbage and is now home to a rusted Toyota Tercel. The air is heavy and buzzing with mosquitoes. This is the Lower 9th Ward, where U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer studied the vegetation on…  More 

A Tour of the Eastern Experimental Forests

In February 2018, Southern Research Station scientists and staff participated in the second round of SRS experimental forest tours. SRS manages 19 experimental forests. Three teams visited 11 eastern experimental forests over five days. In September 2017, two teams had visited eight of the western experimental forests. Experimental forests are a station-level asset. They are…  More 

Chinese Tallow Litter and Tadpoles

Centuries ago, a tree was plucked out of its native ecosystems and introduced to the U.S. Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) is a showy tree with waxy seeds and heart-shaped leaves. Every autumn, its leaves turn crimson or orange before falling to the ground – or the water. “Chinese tallow invades wetlands and riparian areas in…  More 

Middle School Students Edit New Natural Inquirer Issue

How do you make a publication for students great? You let students review the publication before it is final! Students at Owen Middle School in Swannanoa, NC became professional editors for a day when they took part in reviewing a U.S. Forest Service publication called Natural Inquirer. The students evaluated an issue called “Standing on the…  More 

The Future of Fish in the NC Piedmont

What will fish communities of the North Carolina Piedmont look like in the future? “Many factors could affect this,” says U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist Peter Caldwell. “Water withdrawals could be one of the most important.” Water withdrawn from rivers may eventually flow out of kitchen faucets. Many municipalities get drinking water from rivers and…  More 

The Cold Hill Silvicultural Assessment

Upland hardwood forests mature slowly – it can take as long as a century. It can also take years to answer research questions about these forests, which are often dominated by oaks and hickories. In 2003, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), Northern Research Station, and Southern Region (Region 8) of the National…  More 

Termites and Dead Wood in Pine Plantations

A handful of the world’s 3,100 known termite species damage homes. In forests, however, termites are valuable. “Termites recycle dead wood,” says U.S. Forest Service research entomologist Michael Ulyshen. Termites consume as much as 20 percent of the dead wood in forests, as Ulyshen showed in 2014. “Dead wood exists at the interface between below…  More