Climate and Society Will Determine the Future of Wildfire in the South

A new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators projects a four percent increase overall in acres burned by wildfire in the Southeast by 2060, but with substantial uncertainties and large variations by state and ecoregion, including a 34 percent increase in acres burned due to lightning-caused fires. The study, just published in the…  More 

Our Dry, Warm Future may Favor Oaks

Historically, many oak forests across the eastern U.S. experienced frequent low-intensity fires that promoted the establishment and growth of oaks. “However, fire and other disturbances have become less common,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist James Vose. “Red maple, tulip poplar, and other mesophytic, fire-sensitive, and shade-tolerant trees are increasing in many areas of the eastern…  More 

Water Planning for the South in the New Fire Age

The ability to provide fresh drinking water is a critical ecosystem service of forests, and for many households in the southeastern United States, forests are the only source of municipal water supply. About 32 percent of the Southeast’s total annual water supply originates on state and private forest lands and another 3.4 percent on National Forest System…  More 

Water Yields from Southern Appalachian Watersheds in Decline since the 1970s

Where would we be without the water we get from cool mountain streams? In the densely populated southeastern U.S., forested watersheds are particularly important to drinking water supplies. Recent estimates show that southern forests deliver surface drinking water to some 48.7 million people, with streams from the mountainous Southern Appalachian region alone providing water supplies…  More 

Science Partners Launch “Ecosystem Benefits and Risks” Website

The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and the U.S. Forest Service are releasing products from the first phase of an ongoing study assessing benefits of and risks to the region’s “ecosystem services” — natural assets valued by people, such as clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, forest products, and biological conservation. A wealth of data, maps, and…  More 

FIA Data Informs the Fight Against Insect Invasion

More than 50,000 non-native plants, insects, and animals have been introduced to the U.S. Scientists estimate that 4,500 of them are arthropods. “Insect invasions are enabled by humans’ ever-expanding trade and travel networks,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist James Vogt. “Across the globe, invasive species are crossing borders at alarming rates.” In some states such…  More 

Landscape Ecology Meeting Draws Forest Service Scientists and Record Attendance

After more than a year of planning, local organizers from the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center were thrilled to finally welcome attendees of the annual meeting of the U.S. International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), held last month in Asheville, North Carolina. It was the 29th annual and the largest ever…  More 

The Future of Fire in the South

Fire is an integral part of the southern landscape. In the U.S., most of the focus is on the catastrophic fires that regularly sweep across the western states, but wildfires actually occur more frequently in the Southeast, where rapid vegetation growth and fuel accumulation combine with frequent ignitions from lightning and humans. The South leads the nation…  More 

Live Webinar This Friday: Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the U.S.

Title: Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis What will you learn? The presenters will discuss key messages from the recently published drought assessment. Topics to be covered include a state-of-the-science review of direct and indirect impacts of drought on forests and rangelands, as well as a…  More 

The Mid-South Forests of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas

Like most regions of the U.S., the future of the Mid-South forests of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas is one of challenge. A report by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station outlines those challenges and presents options for managing forests over the next half century. The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as…  More