Shortleaf Pine Plantings from 1980s Can Guide Restoration

About forty years ago, 155 plots of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) were planted in national forests across the USDA Forest Service Southern Region. The original purpose was progeny testing, but as decades passed, the study was largely abandoned. However, many of the stands remained and kept growing. In 2018, researchers evaluated 15 of the surviving…  More 

Get Black Outside Events Connect People of Color with the Outdoors

In 2019, data collected from National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surveys found that 88 to 95 percent of all visitors to public lands are white. The national non-profit collaborative Get Black Outside is partnering with the Forest Service to change that statistic. Four Forest Service units recently joined…  More 

100 Years of Forest Service Research in the South

In 2021, the Southern Research Station and all of USDA Forest Service celebrates the centennial of Forest Service research in the South. On July 1, 1921, the Forest Service established two new experiment stations. They were modest operations. The Southern Forest Experiment Station, headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, had only five employees. The Appalachian Forest…  More 

Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum

On April 1, 2021, scientists and experts from the South and across the globe gathered virtually to talk about research on the Santee Experimental Forest. Santee EF is one of 84 sites in the USDA Forest Service Experimental Forest & Range Network. It was founded in 1937, one year after the Francis Marion National Forest…  More 

Wildfire During a Drought? It Can Still Benefit Forests

In the summer of 2011, lightning struck a ridge near High Peak Mountain, on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. The High Peak Wildfire began. “It’s a remote and rugged area, and we were in the middle of a severe drought,” says Virginia McDaniel, a USDA Forest Service forestry technician, who led a study on…  More 

Cross-Site Studies Take Root across the Southern Experimental Forest Network

Most of the 19 southern experimental forests were founded in the 1930s or 1940s. Over the past five years, they have become something new: the SRS Experimental Forest Network. “Each experimental forest is a regional asset,” says Stephanie Laseter, a USDA Forest Service scientist and network co-lead. Johnny Boggs is also a co-lead. “When part…  More 

Group Selection Harvest for White Oak Regeneration

Oaks are keystone species in forests across the eastern U.S. However, oak reproduction has been declining since at least the 1970s — old oaks still dominate the overstory, but a younger generation is not coming in behind. White oak, in particular, is valuable to wildlife and wood-dependent industries such as barrel, furniture, and cabinet making.…  More 

SRS Releases American Chestnut Course

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was an iconic tree that is now functionally extinct. For a hundred years, researchers from multiple organizations have been working to restore this tree. A free online course – An Introduction to the American Chestnut – is now available. The course covers chestnut taxonomy, silvics, historical importance, ecology, and its…  More 

Working Together Towards Chestnut Restoration

On November 3, about forty people from the USDA Forest Service and The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) gathered virtually. It was the second biennial plan of work meeting between TACF and SRS. Since the 1990s, the two organizations have worked together on American chestnut (Castanea dentata) restoration. In 2017 and in 2019, they committed to…  More 

The Quest to Sustain White Oak Under Fire

White oak (Quercus alba) is an incredibly important species, anchoring ecosystems and economies. Current demand for white oak is surging due to its use in making barrels to support a growing spirits industry. Thus, there’s a real need understand the best tools to promote and sustain white oak in forests to support both economic and…  More