New Sapwood Challenges “Perfect Storm” of Pine Fungal Infection

Loblolly pine trees may tolerate some fungal infection if they can form new sapwood. USDA Forest Service plant physiologist Mary Anne Sword Sayer, on a team with Ph.D. candidate John K. Mensah of Auburn University’s Forest Health Cooperative, conducted two studies in Alabama, one of young trees and one of mature trees. Loblolly pine (Pinus…  More 

Research Sustains Ecosystem Services

From clean drinking water to sustainably harvested forest products and the region’s outdoor tourism industry, nature provides abundant benefits to people in the southern Appalachians. Benefits also include biodiversity, the sense of place found in forested landscapes, and much more. Ecological assessment is a key tool for understanding the role of private and public lands…  More 

One Treatment Does Not Fit All Sizes

Bats are important components of healthy forests and provide critical ecological services across numerous different ecosystems. For decades, bat populations throughout the southern U.S. have been declining due to habitat disturbance and loss. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed to two recent publications to address this issue, suggesting ways to improve bat management practices…  More 

Prevention is Key: Lessons from Laurel Wilt

Since 2002, forests in the southeastern U.S. have struggled against a disease called laurel wilt. In 18 years, laurel wilt has spread to 11 southeastern states and killed hundreds of millions of trees. A review article by USDA Forest Service scientist Rabiu Olatinwo reflects on the origins and spread of laurel wilt throughout the last…  More 

Fast, Field-Based Diagnosis of Laurel Wilt Disease

The redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) and a fungal pathogen (Raffaelea lauricola) were first introduced to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Since then, the deadly duo known as laurel wilt disease has cause widespread mortality among redbay (Persea borbonia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and avocado (Persea americana) trees in the southeastern U.S. A team of…  More 

Pathways to Climate Safety

When forest animals need to leave their home territories, because of climate change impacts like drought, flooding, or heat or because humans are moving in, where do they go? They need a habitat corridor or pathway – with tree cover, food, and water – to protect them on their journey to a nearby suitable habitat.…  More 

Mapping Disturbances to Protect the Future of Our Forests

Our forests are changing rapidly, and with this comes the need to both understand and track how and where this change is happening. Monitoring forest disturbances is critical for effective decision making, yet our ability to do so was largely insufficient until recently. Researchers can now track a significant amount of these changes with new…  More 

Which Bat Is That? The Smell Will Tell

For the first time, people can distinguish one bat species from another by smell alone. Scientists from the USDA Forest Service and Arkansas State University found that a new, portable electronic nose (e-nose) device is capable of distinguishing between bat species by their smells. This study is part of a larger effort to help bats…  More 

New Resource on Invasive Species

Eastern hemlock, American chestnut, sassafras, redbay, every member of the ash family, and many others are plagued by non-native invasive species. A new book synthesizes current science on species invading U.S. forests, grasslands, and waterways. The book was published by Springer, and the entire book is available to download. The book covers invasive species of…  More 

Hurricane Preparation and Recovery Guides for Land Managers

Climate change appears to be increasing the severity of hurricanes – and perhaps their frequency. Southern forest, farm, and ranch landowners need to prepare and plan for hurricane impacts. The USDA Southeast Climate Hub surveyed hurricane preparedness and recovery resources and identified a need for centralized guidance that is complete and consistent. The Hub teamed…  More