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Highlights from the Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum

Data logger records soil moisture on the treatment watershed where longleaf pine is being restored on the Santee Experimental Forest in South Carolina. USDA Forest Service photo by Julie Arnold.

On May 3, 2022 the USDA Forest Service hosted a virtual Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum. More than 40 scientists, researchers, and other partners came together to discuss projects occurring on the Santee Experimental Forest.

The Santee Experimental Forest is nestled in the Francis Marion National Forest 10 miles from the coast in South Carolina. Much of its native coastal pine-hardwood flatwoods and bottomland hardwood forests were cut in the previous century for agriculture and then planted in loblolly pine, but some native forests remain intact. Others are being restored, particularly on watershed 77 at Santee Experimental Forest, where multiple studies are documenting the effects of longleaf pine restoration on all aspects of the forest.

Presenters included SRS scientists who both led and collaborated on studies with agencies, students, and professors from the University of North Carolina Charlotte and UNC Greensboro, Michigan Technology University, University of Wisconsin, College of Charleston, Clemson University, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Zanethia Barnett talked about crayfish distributions, diet, and growth in relation to forest vegetation type in riparian zones.
  • Ge Sun discussed longleaf pine restoration and its potential effects on evapotranspiration and water yield.
  • Chris Oishi talked about how longleaf pine restoration can increase sustainability and resilience of southern forests.
  • Devendra Amatya looked at the longleaf pine restoration project from a hydrology perspective by modeling water yield before and after treatments.
  • Carl Trettin discussed the watershed response to longleaf pine restoration.

Other presentations covered riparian ground and surface water interactions, impacts of forestry practices on methane emissions and mercury methylation, deadwood decomposition, NOAA rainfall data, and the outbreak of epizootic ulcerative syndrome in freshwater fish.

Read about last year’s Research Forum. For more information, email Carl Trettin at carl.c.trettin@usda.gov.

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