The fate of wood

Trees are part of the carbon cycle. When they die, they go on storing carbon for a while. But as the fallen trunks and large branches decompose, that carbon moves into the soil and the atmosphere. USDA Forest Service researcher Carl Trettin and his colleagues have designed a new study to show how wood-carbon moves…  More 

A supply, demand primer

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices of processed wood products, such as softwood lumber and plywood, nearly quadrupled. Wholesale prices for plywood increased from $400 to $1,500 per thousand square feet (roughly equivalent to retail prices of plywood increasing from about $12.80 to $48.00 per sheet). Forest Service Senior Research Forester and…  More 

Payments for ecosystem services

  People who own forested land may be able to sell the ecosystem services the land provides. Hunting leases are one example. For the years 2010-2019, payments for hunting leases, wildlife viewing fees, and other such services averaged $1.5 billion a year, as USDA Forest Service research economist Greg Frey and his colleagues estimate. Markets…  More 

Pondberry needs light to thrive

  Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) can tolerate deep shade and flooded soil – conditions that would kill many plants. However, the endangered shrub prefers more light and less flooding, as a team of USDA Forest Service researchers led by Ted Leininger shows. Leininger and colleagues have conducted several pondberry studies at the Flooding Research Facility on…  More 

Harvest ramps responsibly to enjoy for many years to come

This story is excerpted from the original version, which was published on Macon County News.  People may refer to them as wild leeks or ramps, but the pungent smelling native plant’s scientific name is Allium tricoccum. Ramps have been described as a cross between a green onion and garlic and have been a culturally important…  More 

Chinese tallow leaf litter negatively affects frogs

“Where I grew up in the Houston area, Chinese tallow was the main tree in forests near my house. They were a beautiful crimson color in the fall and great for climbing,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Daniel Saenz. “But most importantly, they were the best source of ammunition. Tallow fruits were the perfect size…  More 

Maintaining productivity in the logging industry

Across the U.S., the logging industry population has declined for the last two decades. USDA Forest Service scientist Mathew Smidt contributed to a study investigating changes in employment and profitability in the logging industry. Mingtao He, a graduate student at Auburn University, led the study. Since 1997, the population decline meant fewer young people were…  More 

Managed fires

Fire is a natural ecosystem process. Many land managers in the southeastern U.S. understand that prescribed burning as an essential tool for restoring and maintaining biodiversity in fire-adapted forests and grasslands. The role of wildfire, however, is less widely accepted as a means to maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. The term wildfire implies a fire that…  More 

Earthworms can jump

A worm is a worm is a worm, right? Except that there are more than 7,000 species of worms, and the longer you look, the more complex their world becomes. Earthworms compete. Earthworms invade. Earthworms… jump? “Invasive Asian jumping worms got their name because of the way they thrash around,” says Mac Callaham, a Forest…  More 

Climate change worsens heatwaves

Since the 1980s, climate change has increased the impact of heatwaves. They arrive earlier, last longer, have higher temperatures, and cover wider areas. Their effects across the globe, however, vary by location and income level. USDA Forest Service scientist Jeffrey Prestemon contributed to a study, led by Mohammad Reza Alizadeh at McGill University, that shows…  More