Green Space, Human Health, and Social Justice

Urban green spaces like parks, urban forests, and greenways are often not equally available to everyone. “My research focuses on the nexus between urban nature, social justice, and health as it relates to factors such as income, race, and socioeconomic status,” says U.S. Forest service biological scientist Viniece Jennings. Existing research has described the benefits…  More 

Identifying Potential Heirs Properties

Heirs’ property is inherited land that comes with a catch – a clouded title. “Without a clear title, families are at risk of losing their land and their wealth,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither. Heirs’ property owners often cannot access credit, sell natural resources, or participate in state and federal land improvement…  More 

Heirs’ Property in the South

Children often inherit their parents’ homes and land. But what happens when there is no will or title? For many people, this is not an abstract question. “Heirs’ property is inherited land that two or more people own,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither. “The property is typically passed to heirs without a…  More 

Sunshine, Sweat, and Tears

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service launched a six-year program in 2012 to test the potential of sustainable forestry practices to help stabilize African-American land ownership, increase forest health, and build economic assets in the southern Black Belt. The Sustainable Forestry…  More 

Protecting Heirs and Stabilizing Communities

What do you do with Grandma’s house or farm when she dies without a will? Without a properly recorded will, the land is distributed to the children of the deceased as “tenants in common.” The process leaves the family without a clear and marketable title to family property and may require total agreement on any…  More 

BioBlitz in Macon County

On May 25th, fourth graders from South Macon Elementary School in Macon County, North Carolina, went beyond the playground to tally species right in their own school grounds. The BioBlitz was organized by Jason Love, site manager for the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, and Jennifer Love, Macon County STEM coordinator, with help…  More 

Celebrating Pollinator Week 2017

On June 22, 2017, a handful of people braved the rain at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station to celebrate National Pollinator Week. National Pollinator Week was designated by a unanimous U.S. Senate resolution in 2007. The week recognizes pollinators and their importance to natural ecosystems and agriculture. Some pollinator species have drastically declined.…  More 

Promoting Sustainable Forestry on African American Family Lands

New insight on the challenges and opportunities facing African American family forest owners in the Southeast was just published by U.S. Forest Service scientists in Small Scale Forestry.  SRS research forester John Schelhas, SRS research social scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither, and University of Georgia assistant research scientist Sarah Hitchner summarized interviews with 60 minority landowners in…  More 

New Native Plants Resource for Teachers

A plant module developed in partnership by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is now available online for teachers to download and use with K-12 students. The module integrates current science-based knowledge with the traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation of Cherokee. Partners from the…  More 

Ride, Drive, or Walk? The Decision is Not So Simple for Some

In the U.S., about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are related to travel. Many of these trips are short – perhaps a 10 minute drive to work, or a 15 minute trek to the grocery store. Using public transit, walking, or biking to these destinations could help limit carbon dioxide emissions. However, there…  More