Bringing science from groundwater to surface

On May 3, 2022 the USDA Forest Service hosted a virtual Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum. More than 40 scientists, researchers, and other partners came together to discuss projects occurring on the Santee Experimental Forest. The Santee Experimental Forest is nestled in the Francis Marion National Forest 10 miles from the coast in South Carolina.…  More 

Managed fires

Fire is a natural ecosystem process. Many land managers in the southeastern U.S. understand that prescribed burning as an essential tool for restoring and maintaining biodiversity in fire-adapted forests and grasslands. The role of wildfire, however, is less widely accepted as a means to maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. The term wildfire implies a fire that…  More 

Focus on Joseph O’Brien

This is a new type of article focusing on the people behind the science. These articles will profile SRS employees – from different job series and locations – whose work fulfills and supports the Station’s mission. “I am intrigued by the connection between fire and its role in maintaining biodiversity,” says Joseph O’Brien, a research…  More 

Without fire, trees become more susceptible to it

Historically, fires frequently burned Southern Appalachian forests. Many tree species evolved traits that aided survival in this fire environment. However, with the exclusion of fire from these forests for many decades, new research suggests traits that once made trees resistant to fire may now make them more susceptible to it. USDA Forest Service scientists Melanie…  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 

Burrowing crayfish prefer burning to boiling

Crayfish burrow amongst the prairie roots But are they affected by the woody shoots? Turns out as the woody stems get tall The number of crayfish burrow openings begins to fall. We know many species benefit from fire, but burrowing crayfish? USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Adams led a study that found the number of…  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 

Catchin’ bugs in the Lari-Leuco container

New containers make it easier to monitor Laricobius beetles and Leucopis silver flies, two important predators of hemlock woolly adelgids. USDA Forest Service managers and partners have released these predators throughout the range of eastern hemlock to help control the invasive adelgids. After two years, the sites are monitored to see if the predators have become…  More 

Shortleaf Pine Plantings from 1980s Can Guide Restoration

About forty years ago, 155 plots of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) were planted in national forests across the USDA Forest Service Southern Region. The original purpose was progeny testing, but as decades passed, the study was largely abandoned. However, many of the stands remained and kept growing. In 2018, researchers evaluated 15 of the surviving…  More 

History of Forest Research in the South, 1921-1933

For 40 years, Philip Wakeley researched southern pines for the USDA Forest Service. Wakeley was one of the first Forest Service R&D employees in the South. He began his career in 1924, at the Southern Forest Experiment Station in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Station was established in 1921, and in the 1990s would merge with…  More