Long-term impact of hurricanes on forest markets and carbon storage

Hurricanes have long-term impacts on forest markets and the welfare of landowners in areas hit the hardest. They also disrupt carbon storage processes in forests. USDA Forest Service scientist Jesse Henderson recently published a study in Forest Policy and Economics that showed replanting trees after disasters like Hurricane Michael is the best way to foster…  More 

Improving hurricane assessments with FIA data

In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall and left a trail of damage of over six million acres of forest and ten billion cubic feet of timber across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.   Timber is a critical part of the economy in all three states, so measuring damage to forested land was vital for the…  More 

Earthworms can jump

A worm is a worm is a worm, right? Except that there are more than 7,000 species of worms, and the longer you look, the more complex their world becomes. Earthworms compete. Earthworms invade. Earthworms… jump? “Invasive Asian jumping worms got their name because of the way they thrash around,” says Mac Callaham, a Forest…  More 

Without fire, trees become more susceptible to it

Historically, fires frequently burned Southern Appalachian forests. Many tree species evolved traits that aided survival in this fire environment. However, with the exclusion of fire from these forests for many decades, new research suggests traits that once made trees resistant to fire may now make them more susceptible to it. USDA Forest Service scientists Melanie…  More 

Earthworm diversity linked to latitude and isolation

Earthworms don’t get enough attention, according to USDA Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham. “Earthworms have profound influences on soil habitat and other soil animals,” says Callaham. “They’re called ecosystem engineers. Their behavior and influence can help us understand how the systems are functioning and how we can best manage natural resources.” But until we…  More 

Prescribed fire history affects pollinator diversity in southern forests

Landscapes with diverse fire histories – or pyrodiverse landscapes – have higher diversity of pollinators, as a recent study by USDA Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen shows. The study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Tall Timbers Research Station, the study location, is nestled in the Red Hills Ecoregion of the Coastal…  More 

Mind the gap? Pines love it!

  The bigger the gap the more pines grow Especially when site treatment keeps hardwood growth slow But if a mixedwood stand Is the forest we desire Advanced hardwood regen Should be allowed to grow higher. USDA Forest Service scientist Don Bragg collaborated on a study recently published in Forest Ecology and Management that considered…  More 

Northern red oak: a contender or a member?

Northern red oak in the Appalachians Grows to be stately at high elevations But is there regen? And what makes it thrive? Harvest makes light to keep it alive But fire suppression helps mesophytes reign A little control may help red oak sustain Site treatment with fire and some herbicide May help each species to…  More 

Top ten of 2021

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  Every year, state wildlife…  More 

One Treatment Does Not Fit All Sizes

Bats are important components of healthy forests and provide critical ecological services across numerous different ecosystems. For decades, bat populations throughout the southern U.S. have been declining due to habitat disturbance and loss. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed to two recent publications to address this issue, suggesting ways to improve bat management practices…  More