Research Partnerships with Native American Communities

“The Southern Research Station is working with a number of Native American tribes to promote forest ecosystem restoration and sustainability,” says Monica Schwalbach, USDA Forest Service assistant director. The projects focus on sustainability of botanical species that are important to indigenous communities. SRS researcher Michelle Baumflek is the science lead for many of these projects,…  More 

Significant Trees of the Eastern Cherokee

A partnership between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station has led to the development of a new educational module for Cherokee youth. The module is centered on seven significant trees of the Eastern Cherokee and connects these trees to Cherokee culture and forest management. The tree…  More 

Climate Change, Streamflow, and Social Vulnerability: Locating Increased Risks

What happens when climate change or urbanization increases the frequency or severity of floods? How well can different downstream communities prepare for and respond to those catastrophic events? USDA Forest Service scientists and approached these questions in a new way. They developed a risk matrix that pairs the likelihood of high streamflow events – which…  More 

Highlighting Heirs’ Property Ownership and Land Loss

A USDA Forest Service publication on heirs’ property ownership across the southern U.S. highlights a kind of land ownership prevalent among lower wealth, African Americans in the Black Belt South, central Appalachian whites, and Hispanic Americans in U.S. southwest colonia communities. A meeting co-hosted by the Southern Research Station and the Federal Reserve Bank of…  More 

African American Forest Landowners: Overcoming Obstacles

African American landowners have had a historically difficult time becoming engaged in forestry due to a number of factors, including discrimination. Another factor is heirs’ property, which refers to land that has been passed down informally from generation to generation without a will. This often means that distant relatives co-own a piece of land, and…  More 

Barriers to Bioenergy?

At the national level, bioenergy is seen as a crucial component of a secure and renewable energy plan. Many people view southern forests as prime resources to support the hopeful bioenergy industry. But how is the national agenda for bioenergy received by communities in the South? “We are interested in understanding how the national discourse…  More 

Projecting Climate Change Effects on Outdoor Recreation

Cool temperatures enjoyed by hikers might rise enough that people decide to stay inside instead. The culprit – climate change – will cause higher temperatures and uneven intensification of both drought and rainfall. As a result, outdoor recreation trends could change markedly. A study by University of Georgia postdoctoral research associate Ashley Askew and USDA…  More 

Southern Roots in New York

Urban-rural connections are quite important for land and forest management in the South. From the early 1900s to about 1970, many African Americans migrated from southern farms to industrializing northern cities, and since then many have returned to their homelands. As a USDA Forest Service researcher, I’ve studied African American forest landownership since 1999. I…  More 

Invasive Plants Follow Land Abandonment after Hurricane Katrina

The lot is overgrown, crowded with unruly shrubs, vines, and waist-high weeds. It is littered with old tires and garbage and is now home to a rusted Toyota Tercel. The air is heavy and buzzing with mosquitoes. This is the Lower 9th Ward, where U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer studied the vegetation on…  More 

Green Space, Human Health, and Social Justice

Urban green spaces like parks, urban forests, and greenways are often not equally available to everyone. “My research focuses on the nexus between urban nature, social justice, and health as it relates to factors such as income, race, and socioeconomic status,” says U.S. Forest service biological scientist Viniece Jennings. Existing research has described the benefits…  More