Coastal Forests Face Rising Sea Levels, Increased Salinity

Ghost forests aren’t some spooky legend. They’re patches of dead and dying trees that haunt the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where sea levels are rising and land is sinking. USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists are working with partners across the coastal plain to understand where these watery…  More 

African American Forest Landowners: Overcoming Obstacles

African American landowners have had a historically difficult time becoming engaged in forestry due to a number of factors, including discrimination. Another factor is heirs’ property, which refers to land that has been passed down informally from generation to generation without a will. This often means that distant relatives co-own a piece of land, and…  More 

Hurricane Michael Recovery Focus of State Line Meeting

In May, state foresters from Florida and Georgia, along with their staffs, personnel from the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, the Apalachicola National Forest, and Tall Timbers gathered at the Wakulla Environmental Institute in Crawfordville, Florida for a State Line meeting. Participants discussed Hurricane Michael impacts, recovery, and challenges that the agencies are facing…  More 

Southern Silvopasture

Viewed over the span of human history, the current separation of agriculture and forested lands is a recent construct. However, integrating forestry and agricultural practices offers opportunities for benefits. Combining forests and pastures, for example, allows trees and livestock to be raised for profit on the same plot of land, and the trees offer shade…  More 

Research for Mississippi and Beyond

Water defines the Mississippi Delta, an alluvial plain in northwest Mississippi. The Delta is sandwiched between the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers, and a network of levees and pumps aim to keep the land dry enough for habitation and agriculture. In 2019, however, historic flooding left fields inundated for months. USDA Forest Service scientists have served…  More 

Promoting Ecosystem Services with State Property Tax Programs

Every state in the U.S. offers tax breaks to forest landowners. But the details vary significantly – which makes it hard for policymakers to compare the programs, as a team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the University of Minnesota has shown. “State property tax programs incentivize ecosystem services,” says Forest Service scientist…  More 

Southern Timber Hit Hard by Hurricane

Hurricane Michael roared through Florida, Alabama, and Georgia on October 10 and delivered a hard hit to timberland owners and timber markets. John Alter and Elizabeth Alter manage more than 1,000 acres in Malone, Florida, including 18 Tree Farm stands. The Alters were honored as Florida’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 2015. “This is a true…  More 

The Climate Is Changing—What’s a Silviculturist To Do?

Climate change is here. In southern forests, it takes the form of novel disturbances – different frequency and severity of drought, fire, wind storms, insect outbreaks, even ice storms – or a combination of these stressors. “How will managers respond to the threats posed by changing climate conditions?” asks USDA Forest Service scientist James Guldin.…  More 

Family Forests Are the Ties That Bind the Landscape

Family forests have an enormous capacity to provide ecosystem services such as clean air and water, timber and nontimber forest products, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty and recreation — benefits that stretch far beyond property lines. According to USDA Forest Service research, sustaining these services depends on not only the condition of individual family forests…  More 

Agroforestry Strategies for Landowners

When most people think of livestock and farming, they envision rolling, open fields with cows grazing on green grass. Add trees to that picture, and you have silvopasture — an agroforestry practice that combines livestock and forest management. Chris Fields-Johnson uses agroforestry on his 300-acre loblolly pine forest in Scottsville, VA. He had planned to…  More