The Cold Hill Silvicultural Assessment

Upland hardwood forests mature slowly – it can take as long as a century. It can also take years to answer research questions about these forests, which are often dominated by oaks and hickories. In 2003, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), Northern Research Station, and Southern Region (Region 8) of the National…  More 

Invasive Earthworms in the Food Web

Imagine walking through a forest, with leaves crunching beneath your feet. Underneath those crunchy leaves is a complex ecological realm. “Soil is teeming with life,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham. “Most people don’t think about it because they don’t see the soil fauna.” Soil fauna includes centipedes, millipedes, springtails, nematodes, insect larvae,…  More 

Harvest Disturbance Recovery in Wet Pine Flats

Just after Hurricane Hugo roared over the Atlantic coastal plain in 1989, U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist Bill McKee (now retired) visited Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina. Some of its wet pine flats were so badly damaged that they looked like they had been clearcut. McKee was joined by Michael Aust and…  More 

Highlights from the Joint Leadership Team Meeting

On August 30, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Regional Leadership Team met with the Southern Research Station Leadership Team in Asheville, NC. Ken Arney, deputy regional forester, kicked off the day with a recap of the last joint meeting held in 2015. Several priority topics from that forum are still of great importance: longleaf pine…  More 

Reforesting a Stumpscape

By 1930, the golden age of lumbering was over. “In about 25 years, millions of acres of old-growth forests had been harvested,” says U.S. Forest Service emeritus scientist James Barnett. “Land once covered with majestic stands of longleaf pines had become vast ‘stumpscapes.’” Cutover forests were bare, with little prospect of regeneration. Forests had been…  More 

Frogs, Toads, and Ephemeral Wetlands

When ephemeral wetlands swell with water, frogs and toads congregate to breed and lay their eggs,which hatch into tadpoles. “That’s risky business,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “Wetlands could dry before tadpoles metamorphose into juveniles.” If ephemeral wetlands dry out before the tadpoles develop lungs and become froglets or toadlets, an entire…  More 

National Silviculture Workshop

In 1973, foresters and scientists gathered for the first U.S. Forest Service National Silviculture Workshop. Since 1979, the workshop has been held every two years. The workshop brings two branches of the U.S. Forest Service – the National Forest System and Research & Development – together to address silvicultural challenges. University scientists and managers from…  More 

Mountain Roads and Erosion

Forests on mountaintops may seem remote. “However, millions of people rely on these forested headwater watersheds for their drinking water,” says Johnny Grace. “For many people in the Southeastern U.S., high-elevation forests are where clean drinking water originates.” Grace is a general engineer at the U.S. Forest Service, and he recently studied forest roads and…  More 

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 

Fire Frequency & Hardwood Regeneration

The mighty oak is a critical component of southern forests—for wildlife habitat, acorn production, and hardwood timber—but forests are changing, and its future is uncertain. A long-running U.S. Forest Service experiment studied the use of prescribed fire to control competition from shade-tolerant tree species like red maple, American beech, and blackgum. The study area, located on…  More