Bats Adapt to Disturbed Habitat

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) is considered a rare and sensitive species. The bats are small, with a body length of three to four inches, ears just over one inch, a wingspan just shy of a foot, and they weigh around half an ounce — less than a slice of bread. Though their range includes much of…  More 

Sassafras and Laurel Wilt Disease

The scent of a crushed sassafras leaf is unforgettable – sweet, pungent, fragrant. If you have never plucked one of the leaves and rolled it around between your fingers, you should. “Sassafras is susceptible to laurel wilt disease,” says U.S. Forest Service research mathematical statistician KaDonna Randolph. “The disease has not reached the heart of…  More 

New Forest, New Water Yield

Today, forests abound in the southern Appalachians. However, there was a time in the early 1900s when many forests were harvested or cleared so that the land could be used to grow crops or provide pasture. “The forests that have returned may use water differently,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katherine Elliott. Elliott and…  More 

Mississippi Alluvial Valley Forests

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station (SRS) along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examined a variety of possible…  More 

Mount Ascutney Visitors Enjoy the View and Learn Something, Too

Over the past decade, countless visitors on southeastern Vermont’s Mount Ascutney have read the words on two interpretive panels describing ongoing research that began as a graduate student’s research project there. Through the years, the panels have faded and weathered, but now they are new again after U.S. Forest Service researchers installed updated replacements in…  More 

Grant to Clemson University Supports CAFMS Outreach

Although fires have roared through the Appalachian Mountains devouring thousands of acres since October, a Clemson University professor wants people to understand not all fires are bad. Rob Baldwin, a forestry and environmental conservation professor, has received a three-year grant for $216,000 from the U.S. Forest Services to develop outreach activities for the Consortium of Appalachian Fire…  More 

After the Fire, What Happens to Water Yield?

The immediate impacts of large and severe wildfires on water runoff have long been known to researchers, land managers, and, increasingly, the communities in their path. Devastating mudslides and millions of dollars in flood damage occur each year following fires that compromise vegetation and soils that would otherwise absorb and regulate the flow of post-fire…  More 

Drought Assessment Wins Chief’s Award

On Thursday, December 8, Jim Vose, project leader of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Center for Integrated Forest Science, was in Washington, DC, to accept a Chief’s Award – one of the highest honors in the Forest Service — in the category of “Sustaining Forests and Grasslands.” Vose accepted as leader of a team…  More 

Into the Rhizosphere: Soil Fungi and Carbon Dynamics

Underneath the Earth’s surface, water, nutrients, and chemical signals are shuttled through a sprawling network between tree roots and soil fungi. “Many forest trees depend on their associated soil fungi for nutrients, as the fungi are better at absorbing nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients,” says U.S. Forest Service ecologist Melanie Taylor. “The trees return the…  More 

Life on the Forest Floor: Woodland Herbs of Southern Appalachian Cove Forests

Cove forests in the Southern Appalachians may be carpeted with lush herbaceous understories of ferns, flowers, and other plants without woody stems.  Or they might have extremely sparse understories, with a dense midstory of rhododendron. “Both cove types are moist areas with dense tree canopies, as well as similar landform, geology, and topography, says U.S. Forest Service Southern Research…  More