On April 26, foresters, scientists, executives, and other personnel from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), National Forests of North Carolina, and the Francis Marion-Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, gathered in Asheville, NC for the inaugural Green Line meeting. The meeting was modeled after the State Line meetings, which provide state forestry agencies in adjacent states with the opportunity to share information. However, the Green Line meeting focused on topics and questions important to National Forest System (NFS) managers.
Before the meeting, questions were solicited from the national forests, and SRS experts who could address each topic were identified. SRS scientists Tara Keyser, Scott Goodrick, Bud Mayfield, Katherine Elliott, and Andy Dolloff discussed a range of topics including oak restoration, insects and disease, loss of eastern hemlock, smoke management, and aquatic ecology across the region. Mike Black, Director of the Shortleaf Pine Initiative, gave highlights on current work in shortleaf restoration.
In addition to presenting research highlights, a key objective of the meeting was to create strategic connections between SRS scientists and NFS managers. For example, Long Cane District Ranger, J.R. Kirkaldie, asked the panel for further information on invasive weeds, and the impact of herbicide on those species. These types of questions were an important part of the meeting. The group discussed the importance of distilling research products and results to better integrate into NFS activities, and continued coordination between SRS and the NFS to address identified needs.
SRS and the NFS want to engage more intentionally and communicate proactively. They created a temporary liaison position in order to assist with this endeavor. Stephanie Laseter is currently serving in the detail, and will coordinate the follow-up response to the Green Line meeting. She will also assist in planning future sessions. Randy Fowler, who recently served in the detail, organized and planned the initial meeting. In addition, Sarah Weiner is working with the Southern Region on inventory, monitoring, and assessment. She will also be investigating how social science questions are integrated with broad-scale monitoring.
As the meeting concluded, SRS and NFS leadership – including SRS station director Rob Doudrick, deputy regional forester Frank Beum, and forest supervisors Allen Nicholas and Rick Lint – summarized key points and follow-up tasks. For example,
- SRS will assist with study design on hardwood burns
- NFS will identify plots for Femelschlag research
- NFS will use PB-Piedmont smoke model when it becomes available
- NFS is interested in better understanding visitor use, community relationships, and telling their story to constituents
In addition, both NFS and SRS are interested in the issues facing the Piedmont region across the southeast. The Piedmont is experiencing rapid urbanization, with potential impacts to water quantity and quality. There are also opportunities to restore both longleaf pine and shortleaf pine. NFS and SRS aim to collaborate on these issues and more, while continuing to share information and sustainably manage the nation’s forests and grasslands.
For more information, email Monica Schwalbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.