Wildfires on a warmer planet

Wildfires are projected to burn three times as much area on federal lands by the end of the century, as compared to previous decades. Furthermore, across all climate scenarios, median federal spending for wildfire suppression is projected nearly triple, translating into a $3.70 billion increase compared to historic spending over the same time frame. The…  More 

Air, wind, and fire

Imagine water flowing smoothly down a river. When it hits a rock, the flow of the water moves and bends, creating turbulence. Air moves in a similar fashion as it flows through a forest and encounters objects and other movement in its path — but we can’t see it. Unless something is present to help…  More 

The fate of wood

Trees are part of the carbon cycle. When they die, they go on storing carbon for a while. But as the fallen trunks and large branches decompose, that carbon moves into the soil and the atmosphere. USDA Forest Service researcher Carl Trettin and his colleagues have designed a new study to show how wood-carbon moves…  More 

Chinese tallow leaf litter negatively affects frogs

“Where I grew up in the Houston area, Chinese tallow was the main tree in forests near my house. They were a beautiful crimson color in the fall and great for climbing,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Daniel Saenz. “But most importantly, they were the best source of ammunition. Tallow fruits were the perfect size…  More 

Climate change worsens heatwaves

Since the 1980s, climate change has increased the impact of heatwaves. They arrive earlier, last longer, have higher temperatures, and cover wider areas. Their effects across the globe, however, vary by location and income level. USDA Forest Service scientist Jeffrey Prestemon contributed to a study, led by Mohammad Reza Alizadeh at McGill University, that shows…  More 

Fighting future fires

Climate change threatens communities around the world with the promise of more floods, drought, extreme heat, hurricanes – and wildfire. As these events increase in frequency, they will add new pressures to the federal budget. The USDA Forest Service has already taken proactive steps to mitigate some of these impacts. The agency recently established a…  More 

Forests to Faucets 2.0

Standing on the banks of the Yadkin River in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the river tumbles peacefully by. The river water has made a long journey: it originated as rainfall deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It flows through the Uwharrie, Sumter, and Francis Marion National Forests. It travels through Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Charleston…  More 

Breaking it down with insects: Deadwood decomposition across the globe

Across the globe, insects can decompose almost 30% of all fallen tree branches, trunks, and other deadwood. The findings have important implications for the global carbon cycle. USDA Forest Service scientists Michael Ulyshen and Grizelle Gonzalez, were part of an international research team that investigated the role of insects in decomposing deadwood in ecosystems across…  More 

Fires change forests

A study spanning four continents and 67 years suggests that frequent fire is causing grasslands to replace savannas. The effects of changing fire frequencies may take several decades to become substantial, reports the study led by Stanford University researcher Adam Pellegrini, with contributions from USDA Forest Service research plant physiologist Mary Anne Sword Sayer and…  More 

Webinar Series on Forests & Food Across the Globe

A new webinar series explores the value of the food and medicine forests provide. “Many Americans eat berries, nuts, and edible mushrooms from forests,” says Jim Chamberlain, USDA Forest Service researcher. Every year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food are gathered from public lands. Chamberlain is organizing the webinar series as part of his…  More