Fire Frequency & Hardwood Regeneration

The mighty oak is a critical component of southern forests—for wildlife habitat, acorn production, and hardwood timber—but forests are changing, and its future is uncertain. A long-running U.S. Forest Service experiment studied the use of prescribed fire to control competition from shade-tolerant tree species like red maple, American beech, and blackgum. The study area, located on…  More 

Spring Break Fire Training

Setting a forest on fire is not what you would call a typical a spring break activity. Sixteen graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Georgia (UGA) did just that during a course in wildland fire science at Savannah River Ecology Lab at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The course, Wildland Fire,…  More 

Creating Oak Woodlands

Oak woodlands are typically made up of large, widely spaced trees. Flowering plants, grasses, and other herbaceous species flourish in the understory. “Many public lands managers want to create woodland habitats,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “They provide numerous ecological benefits.” The historical extent of oak woodlands in southeastern forests is relatively…  More 

How Much Smoke Will a Prescribed Fire Produce?

Prescribed fire is an important and widely used management tool, but the smoke produced can cause air quality issues and health problems. Before conducting prescribed fires, managers typically model the amount of smoke a fire will produce, which is directly related to the amount of fuel available. “Most fire-effects models were developed in the western…  More 

Shortleaf Pine: What’s in the Genes?

Despite shortleaf pine’s importance, relatively little is known about its genetics. “The lack of knowledge is especially apparent in this era of molecular genetics and genomics,” says U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Dana Nelson. Nelson and his colleagues recently reviewed shortleaf pine genetics, and their implications for restoration and management. The research team included Oklahoma…  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 

How Much Will Future Wildfires Cost the Federal Government?

In mid-November, the White House Office of Management and Budget published a preliminary assessment of the fiscal risks the federal government faces due to climate change. The report examines fiscal risk in five areas that will be directly affected by climate change: crop insurance, health care, hurricane-related disaster relief, flood risk, and wildfire suppression. The risk assessment section…  More 

Drought, Fire, and Forests

A special report published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on November 20 noted that forest fires have now burned more than 119,000 acres in eight states across the Southeast. Though no lives have been lost in the fires, the smoke has sent hundreds of people from Asheville to Atlanta to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with…  More 

Lizards or Salamanders?

The southern Appalachians are crawling with salamanders. In western North Carolina alone, more than 45 species can be found, and they are critical members of food webs – both as predators and as prey. Salamanders and other amphibians, as well as reptiles, can be affected by forest management practices. “However, amphibians and reptiles are ecologically,…  More