“Promise of the Piedmont”

“South Carolina’s Promise of the Piedmont” meeting was convened to highlight the diverse and important resources of the Piedmont ecoregion. More than 20 participants from the USDA Forest Service and 25 participants from a range of partner organizations attended the three-day meeting in Newberry, South Carolina. The workshop focused on population growth and urbanization, water…  More 

Promoting Ecosystem Services with State Property Tax Programs

Every state in the U.S. offers tax breaks to forest landowners. But the details vary significantly – which makes it hard for policymakers to compare the programs, as a team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the University of Minnesota has shown. “State property tax programs incentivize ecosystem services,” says Forest Service scientist…  More 

Southern Timber Hit Hard by Hurricane

Hurricane Michael roared through Florida, Alabama, and Georgia on October 10 and delivered a hard hit to timberland owners and timber markets. John Alter and Elizabeth Alter manage more than 1,000 acres in Malone, Florida, including 18 Tree Farm stands. The Alters were honored as Florida’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 2015. “This is a true…  More 

Forest Birds & Forest Trees

For every stage of forest succession, there’s a bird species that needs it. But others are flexible, thriving in many types of forests. The blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, summer tanager, and white-breasted nuthatch are all associated with mature forests. But a recent study suggests these birds are forest generalists rather than mature…  More 

Longing for Longleaf Pine

In the early 1800s, longleaf pine-dominated forests stretched from eastern Texas to southern Virginia and south into central Florida. These forests covered about 90 million acres — nearly the size of the state of Montana. The dense, tightly grained wood from these forests built some of America’s great cities and railroads. Vast sections were cleared…  More 

Putting Mangrove Data to Work in East Africa

Mangrove forests are among the most carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet. Their stilt-like roots trap carbon and other nutrients that rivers have carried to the coastal deltas where mangroves grow. They act as a buffer, protecting coastlines and the people who live there from increasingly strong seas and storm surges. People depend on mangrove forests…  More 

Firefighting Class of 2018

A few hundred feet from the Davidson River in North Carolina, 20 young people sit in a classroom. It’s no ordinary class – it’s the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew in the making. The students are in the advanced wildfire management program at Schenck Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, operated by the USDA Forest Service.…  More 

Definitive New Book on Saproxylic Insects

Bark-feeders, fungus-feeders, wood-borers, and wood-nesting bees – all are saproxylic insects, which means they depend on dead or dying wood. The insects that prey on or parasitize them are also considered saproxylic. “About a third of all forest insect species are saproxylic,” says USDA Forest Service research entomologist Michael Ulyshen. Ulyshen recently edited a definitive…  More 

Elevation and Invasion

When humans wander the planet, they carry their plants along, often inadvertently. For example, Plantago major earned the common name ‘white man’s footprint,’ because it hitchhiked to the U.S. with European settlers and began growing along trails and roads. It is a very common species in the Southeast and has naturalized all over the globe.…  More 

The Climate Is Changing—What’s a Silviculturist To Do?

Climate change is here. In southern forests, it takes the form of novel disturbances – different frequency and severity of drought, fire, wind storms, insect outbreaks, even ice storms – or a combination of these stressors. “How will managers respond to the threats posed by changing climate conditions?” asks USDA Forest Service scientist James Guldin.…  More