Longleaf Pine Cone Prospects for 2017 and 2018

How many pine cones can managers expect from their longleaf pine forests? Every year, U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway attempts to answer this question. His most recent report suggests that 2017 will be a good year for longleaf pine cone production. “Across the region, we expect longleaf pines to produce an average of…  More 

Restoration in the Understory

Some plants are homebodies and refuse to thrive in new areas. “Plants have unique abilities to thrive where they grow but moving plants outside their genetically adapted environment might cause them not to grow as well,” says Joan Walker, SRS research plant ecologist. The U.S. Forest Service, led by Walker, is partnering with federal and state…  More 

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