Long-term impact of hurricanes on forest markets and carbon storage

Hurricanes have long-term impacts on forest markets and the welfare of landowners in areas hit the hardest. They also disrupt carbon storage processes in forests. USDA Forest Service scientist Jesse Henderson recently published a study in Forest Policy and Economics that showed replanting trees after disasters like Hurricane Michael is the best way to foster…  More 

A supply, demand primer

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices of processed wood products, such as softwood lumber and plywood, nearly quadrupled. Wholesale prices for plywood increased from $400 to $1,500 per thousand square feet (roughly equivalent to retail prices of plywood increasing from about $12.80 to $48.00 per sheet). Forest Service Senior Research Forester and…  More 

Maintaining productivity in the logging industry

Across the U.S., the logging industry population has declined for the last two decades. USDA Forest Service scientist Mathew Smidt contributed to a study investigating changes in employment and profitability in the logging industry. Mingtao He, a graduate student at Auburn University, led the study. Since 1997, the population decline meant fewer young people were…  More 

Top ten of 2021

We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2021. 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.   ______________________ One acorn, two acorns, three acorns, four… How to evaluate acorn crops  Every year, state wildlife…  More 

A History of Naval Stores, a Forgotten Forest Industry

Before the advent of modern boats, wooden ships made up the navies of our world. Naval stores – pitch, tar, turpentine, and rosin – were used to caulk seams, preserve ropes, and maintain the seaworthiness of wooden ships. Naval stores also found many other uses prior to the modern petrochemical era. USDA Forest Service emeritus…  More 

The Transformation of Wood

Wood can be hewn, sawed, bored, and planed. It can also be fractionated – which means splitting it into its chemical components of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. These compounds are tightly locked together. Together, they give trees the strength to stand tall. Separately, some of them are used to make: Paper, rayon, and cellophane; Food…  More 

How Do Weather, Insects, and Diseases Impact Forests? It Depends

Forests of the southern U.S. are among the most productive and intensively managed in the world. Disturbances naturally alter forest stands, sometimes creating conditions that benefit plant or animal communities, but can cause major economic losses to landowners. What’s more, the impacts from one disturbance may invite other disturbances – dead and damaged trees can…  More 

Southern Forest Outlook: Synthesis of Regional Trends and Futures

The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and Southern Region, in partnership with the Southern Group of State Foresters, is leading an update to the Southern Forest Assessment Library, with a new regional assessment called the Southern Forest Outlook, or SFO. The SFO update will inform forest sector decision makers, partners, and the interested public…  More 

American Ginseng, in the Forest and in the Marketplace

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a plant of great value. Tens of thousands of pounds are harvested from the wild each year. But the average harvest amount has dwindled, while price has skyrocketed. “It’s pretty unusual that the more effort put towards producing something, the less is produced,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Greg Frey.…  More 

Future Increases in Biomass Demand Could Affect Wood Economy

Wood is used for an abundance of everyday items — furniture, buildings, paper — so much so that it would be difficult to find a space completely without wood-based products. However, a competing use is emerging: many studies predict that more wood will be used for bioenergy in the future, which could affect that industry…  More