Fires change forests

A study spanning four continents and 67 years suggests that frequent fire is causing grasslands to replace savannas. The effects of changing fire frequencies may take several decades to become substantial, reports the study led by Stanford University researcher Adam Pellegrini, with contributions from USDA Forest Service research plant physiologist Mary Anne Sword Sayer and…  More 

Top ten of 2021

We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2021. Each article highlights the people, partnerships, and natural wonders of the South. For the past century, USDA Forest Service research has contributed to healthier, more sustainable southern forests.   ______________________ One acorn, two acorns, three acorns, four… How to evaluate acorn crops  Every year, state wildlife…  More 

Research spans the South: Cross-site studies of the Experimental Forest Network

A small team of USDA Forest Service employees are making huge contributions to the SRS Experimental Forest Network. Chuck Burdine and Bryan Mudder are key members of this team. For the past two years, they have been on temporary assignments as western and eastern regional coordinators, respectively. “When I took on the regional coordinator role,…  More 

New story map for the Experimental Forest Network

Long-term research is conducted across the USDA Forest Service Experimental Forest Network. A new story map provides detailed information for each site in the SRS Experimental Forest Network. The story map: Discusses current and past research and highlights online resources, including a growing collection of digital datasets; Shows the ecoregion and type of forest community…  More 

Catchin’ bugs in the Lari-Leuco container

New containers make it easier to monitor Laricobius beetles and Leucopis silver flies, two important predators of hemlock woolly adelgids. USDA Forest Service managers and partners have released these predators throughout the range of eastern hemlock to help control the invasive adelgids. After two years, the sites are monitored to see if the predators have become…  More 

Defining the U.S. land base in support of the Resources Planning Act Assessment

By analyzing non-Federal land use trends, USDA Forest Service researchers, including Mark Nelson of the Northern Research Station, Kurt Riitters of SRS, and others from across the agency, found that developed land use in the South nearly doubled over the past 30 years, from 25.3 million acres in 1982 to 45.6 million acres in 2012. Their…  More 

Future water supply depends on forested lands

Forests provide cleaner water than any other land cover type. Around 60 million people in the U.S. get more than half of their surface drinking water from forested lands. In Environmental Research Letters, USDA Forest Service ORISE hydrology fellow Ning Liu and colleagues break down the contributions of U.S. forests to surface drinking water supplies.…  More 

Linking tree water use and soil moisture

When more water is available, some tree species use much more of it. Loblolly pines growing near a stream used 65 percent more water than loblolly pines growing near the top of a hill, reports a new study led by USDA Forest Service researcher Johnny Boggs.  White oaks near a stream only had 12 percent…  More 

Handbook for 30-year-old bottomland oak stands

Southern floodplain forest landowners can benefit from a new USDA Forest Service handbook of silvicultural practices for oaks planted on former croplands. The practical volume outlines the methods – and supporting science – for managing stands to produce high-quality oak sawtimber, improve wildlife habitat through acorn production, or an integrated approach for both timber and…  More 

Longleaf pines & fire in the growing season

Prescribed fire every two years had no impact on the growth or survival of mature longleaf pines – even when prescribed fire was conducted in the growing season, finds long-term experiment. USDA Forest Service scientist John Willis led a study comparing stands of Pinus palustris burned in winter, spring, and summer. Summer lightning often ignites…  More