Top Ten of 2022  

  We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2022. 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.   _______________________________ New book on fire ecology and management across the U.S.  A…  More 

The journey of a special spruce: From the mountains to the U.S. Capitol

Is that a Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel? No, It’s just a USDA Forest Service tree climber at the top of 70-foot-tall red spruce. In July, I climbed candidate Capitol Christmas trees in the National Forests in North Carolina with my colleagues Andy Whittier and Paul Valento of Superior National Forest. Every year a national forest…  More 

Bats on the Brink

USDA Forest Service researchers are monitoring the effects of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease from Eurasia that has decimated cave-hibernating bats across the U.S. since its arrival in 2006. “The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome grows on bats in the wintertime. It causes them to wake up during their hibernation and burn their fat reserves,”…  More 

Tri-colored bats & white-nose syndrome

The only mammal that truly flies, bats are celebrated for many reasons. Including their looks. “Tri-colored bats are the cutest little things,” says Susan Loeb of the USDA Forest Service. “They’re tiny – they weigh less than a quarter of an ounce. And each one of their hairs has three colors on it: yellow, black,…  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 

Barnett receives Society for Freshwater Science award

USDA Forest Service fisheries biologist Zanethia Barnett is the winner of the 2022 Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) Hynes Award for New Investigators. The Hynes Award goes to a senior author of an outstanding primary publication within the last three years. Barnett won the award for a 2020 publication in Freshwater Biology that was the…  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 

Appalachian stream fish diversity: The more the merrier!

The relationship between diversity and productivity in ecosystems has fascinated scientists for decades but is not well understood in freshwater fish communities. USDA Forest Service scientist Andrew Dolloff co-authored a study that found a positive relationship between fish production and fish biodiversity. Fish production is an expansive metric. It represents the number of individuals, their…  More 

Conserving trees for endangered bats

Tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in South Carolina are threatened by habitat loss and white-nose syndrome. New research shows where they roost during winter, and where they and northern yellow bats (Lasiurus intermedius) roost in summer. Northern yellow bats are considered a species a special concern in South Carolina. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed…  More