Top ten of 2021

Browse our most popular posts of the year

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 

a cluster of acornsEvery year, state wildlife agencies and other groups survey acorn crops. New research describes a standardized way to estimate crop sizes and convert the numbers to traditional hard mast indices.  


New series of science updates on NTFPs from trees 

In the early 1900s, ground black walnut shells were used as an abrasive to clean airplane pistons. Black walnut and twelve other native trees are featured in a factsheet series that covers ecology, economics, and management for each species.  


Chinese privet, arthropods, and bees 

In forests invaded by Chinese privet, bees are much less numerous near the forest floor. However, privet had little effect on bee species that fly higher, above the privet thicket. Insects and spiders living on the forest floor were not affected by a privet invasion.  


Collaborative research on the future of wild turkeys

a female wild turkey

SRS, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and university partners are working to understand population dynamics of wild turkeys on the Savannah River Site. The researchers will outfit turkeys with GPS backpack units that provide a wealth of information about their nesting behavior in a setting without hunting pressure. 


Controlling the spread of Callery pear 

Common herbicides can effectively kill Callery pear, an invasive tree spreading through the eastern U.S. The researchers tested four herbicides plus a combination of two of them. All five formulations were effective, whether applied as foliar or basal bark treatments.   


Managing oak-pine stands: New focus on mixed stands 

Managing oaks and pines together is re-emerging as a goal for many landowners. Mixed-stand management may help protect stands from pests and pathogens. Related research suggests that a hardwood midstory can help longleaf seedlings survive, especially on dry sites. 


New resource on invasive species: Comprehensive science synthesis about species, impacts, and management a map of invasive species across the U.S.

A 16-chapter book synthesizes current science on invasive insects and pathogens, plants, vertebrates, and aquatic organisms. The book also discusses how climate change and other disturbances affect invasive species, ways to prevent new or slow existing invasions, and tools for monitoring damage. 


Forests for bats: New booklet for landowners and managers 

Forest Management and Bats was recently updated to include information about white-nose syndrome and other recent research. Written for landowners across North America, the booklet  includes information on roosting, foraging, and water sources. 


Prescribed fire effects on soil fertility 

Research examined how burning late in the dormant season could affect soil nutrients and forest productivity on a coastal plain longleaf pine site.  


Cross-site studies take root across the Southern Experimental Foresta person collects water samples from a weir Network 

With support from FIA, new inventory plots are being established and sampled across the SRS network of experimental plots, building a common set of measurements and adding to the network’s collection of broad-scale, long-term data. 


Here are a few more articles from 2021 that you may have missed: 

SRS scientists and partners work across many fields — from climate impacts and hydrology to economics, forest health, silviculture, and more. The range of articles is evidence of this deep and wide expertise.

Over the past year, SRS researchers have published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reports. All these publications are freely available. 

CompassLive began as a print magazine called Compass in 2001. It has existed online since 2012. Read more, tell your friends, and subscribe!

Access the latest publications by SRS scientists.