Longing for Longleaf Pine

In the early 1800s, longleaf pine-dominated forests stretched from eastern Texas to southern Virginia and south into central Florida. These forests covered about 90 million acres — nearly the size of the state of Montana. The dense, tightly grained wood from these forests built some of America’s great cities and railroads. Vast sections were cleared…  More 

Formidable Forest Shrubs Affect Tree Height and Biomass

Forests are made of three-dimensional life forms that constantly interact with each other and with the abiotic factors in their environment. A recent study shows how complex those interactions can be. “Trees growing within an evergreen shrub layer can be almost 20 feet shorter than trees without a shrub layer,” says USDA Forest Service scientist…  More 

Coastal Plain Fish Diversity and Introduced Small Wood

Coastal plain streams don’t always have swirling eddies or meandering bends. “They can look more like drainage ditches than natural streams,” says USDA Forest Service technician Ken Sterling. Agriculture, flood abatement, and residential development have all contributed to stream straightening in this region. The result? Streams incise and downcut, like a canyon. “These streams are…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Climate Influences Male-Female Balance in Longleaf Pines

For many reptile and fish species, temperature during egg incubation determines whether hatchlings are male or female. In the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered that 99 percent of immature green turtles hatched in warming sands are female, raising concerns about successful reproduction in the future. U.S. Forest Service scientists have…  More 

Bottomland Hardwood Restoration – What Happens Belowground?

If something looks like a forest, does it act like a forest? U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham, along with several colleagues, asked that question about bottomland hardwoods in west-central Mississippi. “Back in the late 1960s, there was a soybean boom, and a lot of bottomland forests were cleared for farming,” says Callaham. However,…  More 

Conserving Eastern Hemlock

Where can you go to find an eastern hemlock tree? Although threatened by the hemlock woolly adelgid, eastern hemlock has an extensive range. “Eastern hemlock grows throughout the southern Appalachians,” says U.S. Forest Service collaborator and ecologist Kevin Potter. Potter is also a forestry faculty member at North Carolina State University. “Hemlock grows in the…  More 

Carolina Hemlock Populations: Isolated and Imperiled

Hemlocks are under attack. U.S. Forest Service scientists and their partners are working to save the native conifers from the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect from Japan. Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) trees can survive HWA infestation for a decade or more but often die within four years. Carolina hemlocks grow in tiny, isolated…  More 

Pondberry Seeks Sunlight

Pondberry is rare and endangered, but don’t underestimate the species. “Pondberry tolerates flooded soil,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Brian Roy Lockhart. “It also tolerates living in heavy shade. It has a plasticity to light that gives managers a lot of options for improving its growth and vigor.” Pondberry occurs in several southeastern states,…  More 

Prescribed Fire and Snags in Shortleaf Pine Woodlands

“I’ve spent years working in these shortleaf pine woodlands and always wondered about the availability of snags, especially given their importance to bats,” says U.S. Forest Service research wildlife biologist Roger W. Perry. Perry is talking about 250,000 acres on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Efforts to restore shortleaf pine woodlands have…  More