Where’s the Carbon?

Carbon is the foundational element of life, and trees use atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow. “Trees can partially offset carbon dioxide emissions,” says U.S. Forest Service plant physiologist John Butnor. “Trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time.” Butnor and his colleagues studied carbon storage in longleaf pine…  More 

Longleaf Pine Silviculture

By best estimate, longleaf pine forests once spanned over 90 million acres – an area more than twice the size of Georgia. “Today, 97 percent of these forests are gone,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway. “However, the longleaf pine ecosystems that remain are home to a very diverse community of plants and…  More 

Oaks, an Unrecognized Ally in Longleaf Pine Restoration

Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the most threatened in the U.S., and managers across the southeast are prioritizing longleaf restoration. The conventional approach calls for removing hardwood trees such as oak. “Hardwood reduction techniques are commonly deemed necessary for ecological restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Louise Loudermilk. “Hardwoods are…  More 

Enough Seeds to Plant a Billion Pines

In the early 20th century, steam-powered logging equipment arrived in the longleaf pine forests of the southern U.S. Coastal Plain, and the “golden age of lumbering” began. When the sawdust settled, millions of acres in the region – especially along the Western Gulf Coast – were barren. “In many areas, the harvest was so complete that no…  More 

Reforesting with Longleaf Pine After Hurricane Damage

Hurricanes and other major storms cause billions of dollars of damage to southern timber resources. If you add the increased risk of wildfire, insect infestations, and disease that accompany downed wood, you have millions of acres of forests vulnerable to further harm after the hurricane’s gone. In some areas of the South, one idea for…  More 

Cogongrass Can Be Stopped

Over the past decade, U.S. Forest Service researchers have been working with university cooperators to find some way to slow down or stop the relentless spread of cogongrass. In late 2014, Auburn University researchers reported results that demonstrated, for the first time, that patches of cogongrass can be eliminated completely within three years — showing…  More 

The Chipola Experimental Forest

Located in the sandhills of the Florida Panhandle, the Chipola Experimental Forest (Chipola) was established in 1952 on privately owned land under a 99-year lease to the Southern Forest Experiment Station (now the Southern Research Station), International Paper Company, and Hardaway Contracting Company. The two companies requested the cooperative arrangement with the Forest Service to…  More 

Regenerating Shortleaf Pine in the Southern Appalachians

On June 14th, at the annual meeting of the Southern Group of State Foresters, Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox and U.S. Forest Service Southern Region Deputy Regional Forester Ken Arney announced the release of a long-awaited five-year plan developed by the Shortleaf Pine Initiative to stem the rapid decline of regional short­leaf pine forests. Shortleaf…  More 

It’s Complicated: The Relationship between Climate and Seed Production in Longleaf Pine

The longleaf pine tree is a finicky and slow seed producer, and scientists have long suspected that fluctuations in seed production are related to climate. U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Qinfeng Guo and colleagues recently found evidence of a complicated relationship between seed production and climate. A long-term dataset that spans 10 sites and six states…  More 

Guidelines for Producing Quality Longleaf Pine Seeds

High-quality longleaf pine seeds are essential for producing nursery seedlings that perform well in the field, but producing them is not as easy as it might seem. Longleaf pine seeds are unusually sensitive to damage during collection, processing, treatment and storage. In 2002, Jim Barnett, then project leader for the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research…  More