Top Ten of 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, it is a good time to gather our most-read CompassLive stories from the past year. Each one highlights the work of USDA Forest Service scientists at the Southern Research Station. We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which includes the most popular of 2020 plus a few more that…  More 

American Ginseng, in the Forest and in the Marketplace

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a plant of great value. Tens of thousands of pounds are harvested from the wild each year. But the average harvest amount has dwindled, while price has skyrocketed. “It’s pretty unusual that the more effort put towards producing something, the less is produced,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Greg Frey.…  More 

The Forest’s Bounty

No one knows how many gallons, pounds, and tons of non-timber forest products are harvested – there are too many products, too many units of measurement, and not enough data. “If we don’t know the volume, we can’t figure out the value,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Jim Chamberlain. “Value has two pieces to it,…  More 

Foraging in the Future

Foraging can be as casual as searching for wild blackberries in a suburban backyard. At least a quarter of the U.S. population has foraged in this way. “Forests provide food, medicine, and other sundry items for subsistence and income,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Jim Chamberlain. Blackberries, blueberries, Christmas trees, firewood, fungi, grasses, greenery, mosses,…  More 

Agroforestry Strategies for Landowners

When most people think of livestock and farming, they envision rolling, open fields with cows grazing on green grass. Add trees to that picture, and you have silvopasture — an agroforestry practice that combines livestock and forest management. Chris Fields-Johnson uses agroforestry on his 300-acre loblolly pine forest in Scottsville, VA. He had planned to…  More 

Grow Your Own Ramps!

In the Appalachian Mountains, spring really starts with ramps and ramp festivals. Also known as wild leeks, ramps (Allium tricoccum) have been described as having a flavor that falls somewhere between that of garlic, onions, and scallions. While the taste is sweet, the pungent smell of ramps — and of those who’ve eaten them —…  More 

New Native Plants Resource for Teachers

A plant module developed in partnership by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is now available online for teachers to download and use with K-12 students. The module integrates current science-based knowledge with the traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation of Cherokee. Partners from the…  More 

Partnership to Better Understand Harvest Methods for Ramps Launched in Michigan

The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Virginia Tech are partnering with the newly formed Institute for Sustainable Foraging (ISF) based in Traverse City, Michigan, to study ramp harvesting techniques used by private landowners and harvesters in Northern Michigan. This research will be used to better understand harvest methods necessary to ensure sustainability of ramp populations…  More 

Forest and Landowners Workshop Held in Mississippi

On May 3, 2016 the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Minority Landowner Magazine co-hosted a forest and landowners workshop in Meridian, Mississippi. About 70 people, including landowners, extension agents, university staff, and consulting foresters, participated in the free workshop. The goals of the workshop were to: Introduce minority and limited resource landowners to…  More 

Ukrainians Learn About ‘Sang

“Here’s sang-find, also known as rattlesnake fern,” said Gary Kauffman, botanist for the U.S. Forest Service National Forests of North Carolina, as he pointed out a delicately branching fern. “Ginseng used to be called ‘sang’ and sang-find is supposed to point towards the ginseng.” There were a number of other ginseng indicators in that particular cove…  More