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 

Managing Oak-Pine Stands

About half of southern forests are a mix of oaks and pines growing side by side. In the past, getting rid of either the oaks or the pines had been a common management goal. “Pine plantations – stands with no oaks – have become one of the most recognizable symbols of forest management,” says John…  More 

Wildfire During a Drought? It Can Still Benefit Forests

In the summer of 2011, lightning struck a ridge near High Peak Mountain, on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. The High Peak Wildfire began. “It’s a remote and rugged area, and we were in the middle of a severe drought,” says Virginia McDaniel, a USDA Forest Service forestry technician, who led a study on…  More 

Cross-Site Studies Take Root across the Southern Experimental Forest Network

Most of the 19 southern experimental forests were founded in the 1930s or 1940s. Over the past five years, they have become something new: the SRS Experimental Forest Network. “Each experimental forest is a regional asset,” says Stephanie Laseter, a USDA Forest Service scientist and network co-lead. Johnny Boggs is also a co-lead. “When part…  More 

Silviculture for Open Forests

Grassy oak savannas and sunny pine woodlands were once a common sight across the eastern U.S. These open forests have fewer large trees in the overstory and a bounty of native grasses and flowering plants in the understory. Frequent fire limited tree regrowth and created the open canopy. USDA Forest Service scientist Don Bragg and…  More 

Top Ten of 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, it is a good time to gather our most-read CompassLive stories from the past year. Each one highlights the work of USDA Forest Service scientists at the Southern Research Station. We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which includes the most popular of 2020 plus a few more that…  More 

Remembering Glen Smalley

On August 2, 2020, Glendon W. Smalley died at his home in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was 92. Smalley was an Emeritus scientist with the Southern Research Station. Smalley began working for the USDA Forest Service in 1953 on the Sam Houston National Forest in Texas, where he met his wife Mary, who passed in 2017.…  More 

The Southern Pine Module Goes Virtual

In 2019, Janet Hinchee, the USDA Forest Service Regional Silviculturist for the South invited me to coordinate the Southern Pine Module, a ten day workshop for the Forest Service National Advanced Silviculture Program. The workshop is a key element of the agency’s program for National Forest land managers, especially district silviculturists, to obtain required silvicultural…  More 

Appalachian-Cumberland Meeting Addresses State and National Forest Partners’ Research Needs

In early March the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station hosted its first joint State Line and Green Line Meeting. Approximately 60 state and national forest partners attended the two-day meeting held in Johnson City, Tennessee to learn about a variety of SRS research topics relevant to their specific needs and the Appalachian-Cumberland region. SRS…  More 

Genetics of Shortleaf and Longleaf Pine in Seed Orchards

Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystems have been dwindling for decades. Restoration is a huge priority for the USDA Forest Service, the Longleaf Pine Alliance, the Shortleaf Pine Initiative, and many others. Restoration requires seed, and on National Forest System lands the seed comes from USDA Forest Service seed orchards. The…  More