Coastal Plain Forests: The Next 50 Years

What will our Southern coastal forests look like in 50 years? With a myriad of factors involved—including climate change, population growth, economic outlooks, and more—it’s not a simple question. However, forest researchers have provided what they believe is a comprehensive answer to that question in the new general technical report Outlook for Coastal Plain Forests. The…  More 

Interrrupting an Invasional Meltdown

Earthworms have been described as “ecosystem engineers” because they can transform soil environments in ways – physical, chemical, and biological – that in turn lead to aboveground ecological changes. Most of the 8,000 species of the world’s earthworms stay in areas where they evolved, some occupying very narrow niches, but about 120 “cosmopolitan” or “peregrine”…  More 

The Invasion of Southern Forests by Nonnative Plants

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examines a variety of…  More 

With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a…  More 

Cogongrass Invades the South

It grows on every continent except Antarctica and has earned a reputation as one of the worst weeds on earth. Now, according to U.S. Forest Service emeritus scientist Jim Miller, cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is one of the most threatening invasive species in the South. Native to Southeast Asia, cogongrass was accidentally introduced in the United…  More 

Why is Cogongrass So Successful at Invading the South?

In the South, many of our forests are crowded with invasive plants—English ivy, privet, oriental bittersweet and kudzu—to name just a few. These plants can often edge out the natives, reducing the diversity of understories and altering forests. Understanding how these plants arrived in the southeastern United States and adapted to thrive in local conditions…  More 

Appalachian-Cumberland Highlands: The Next 50 Years

Knowing more about how the future might unfold can improve decisions that have long-term consequences. The Southern Forest Futures Project, a multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Forest Service, aims to forecast and interpret changes in southern forests under multiple scenarios over the next several decades. The first of five sub-regional reports to explore these…  More 

Managing Southern Forests under Climate Change

U.S. Forest Service scientists recently published a new comprehensive guide to help natural resource managers in the South develop options for managing southern forest ecosystems in the face of climate change.  Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Management Options: A Guide for Natural Resource Managers in Southern Forest Ecosystems culminates a multi-year initiative by Forest Service Southern…  More 

Ramped Up Risk for Frogs When Chinese Tallow Interacts with Climate Change

The timing of mating and egg-laying in many amphibians is directly related to temperature. Due to climate change, spring warming comes sooner in many areas, and a new study led by U.S. Forest Service researcher Daniel Saenz suggests that the changed timing of breeding could cause native amphibians such as the southern leopard frog and…  More 

NSF Grant Funds New Understanding of Plant Invasions at Larger Scales

Purdue University and U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) researchers recently received over $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to explore regional and continental patterns of non-native plant invasions. Chris Oswalt, research forester with the SRS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit, and Qinfeng Guo, ecologist with the Eastern Forest Threat Assessment Center, serve…  More