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…  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 

Novel forestry outreach shows success

In 2012, the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service partnered with a number of nonprofit organizations to create an award-winning program to help landowners address heirs’ property, land retention, and natural resource justice issues. The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) has become a model for addressing issues faced by…  More 

Helping families keep & sustain land

Children often inherit their parents’ homes and land. But what if there is no will or estate plan? In such cases, state laws determine how real estate and other assets are divided. In most cases, property is passed to heirs in split shares. “Without a will, property is typically passed to heirs with a clouded…  More 

New Sapwood Challenges “Perfect Storm” of Pine Fungal Infection

Loblolly pine trees may tolerate some fungal infection if they can form new sapwood. USDA Forest Service plant physiologist Mary Anne Sword Sayer, on a team with Ph.D. candidate John K. Mensah of Auburn University’s Forest Health Cooperative, conducted two studies in Alabama, one of young trees and one of mature trees. Loblolly pine (Pinus…  More 

Shortleaf Pine Plantings from 1980s Can Guide Restoration

About forty years ago, 155 plots of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) were planted in national forests across the USDA Forest Service Southern Region. The original purpose was progeny testing, but as decades passed, the study was largely abandoned. However, many of the stands remained and kept growing. In 2018, researchers evaluated 15 of the surviving…  More 

When Detecting Bats, Methods Matter

If you want to record bat calls in summer, go early. Detectors recorded significantly more high-quality call files during late June and early July than August. USDA Forest Service research ecologist Susan Loeb and colleagues published results from a bat detection survey in Acta Chiropterologica. The likely reason bats had very high recorded activity in…  More 

Electrofishing for Crayfish

Since its origin, more than 40,000 years ago, fishing has taken a variety of forms — from spearing to hook-and-line fishing. In the 1960s, scientists began using a method called “electrofishing” to study aquatic populations. In a study published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, USDA Forest Service scientist Zanethia Barnett researched the…  More 

Seed Size & Predation

Among their many benefits, prescribed fires can protect southeastern pine woodlands from encroachment – the process of fire-sensitive species expanding into fire-maintained woodlands. Because fire is important for longleaf pine regeneration, forest researchers have studied the effects of flammability on the pine woodlands. In a recent study published in in Applied Vegetation Science, USDA Forest…  More