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 

Webinar Series on Forests & Food Across the Globe

A new webinar series explores the value of the food and medicine forests provide. “Many Americans eat berries, nuts, and edible mushrooms from forests,” says Jim Chamberlain, USDA Forest Service researcher. Every year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food are gathered from public lands. Chamberlain is organizing the webinar series as part of his…  More 

New Series of Science Updates on NTFPs From Trees

Trees provide food, medicine, and other things that people need. USDA Forest Service researcher Jim Chamberlain developed factsheets for eight species: Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) Noble fir (Abies procera) Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) These trees provide fruit…  More 

A History of Naval Stores, a Forgotten Forest Industry

Before the advent of modern boats, wooden ships made up the navies of our world. Naval stores – pitch, tar, turpentine, and rosin – were used to caulk seams, preserve ropes, and maintain the seaworthiness of wooden ships. Naval stores also found many other uses prior to the modern petrochemical era. USDA Forest Service emeritus…  More 

Fast, Field-Based Diagnosis of Laurel Wilt Disease

The redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) and a fungal pathogen (Raffaelea lauricola) were first introduced to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Since then, the deadly duo known as laurel wilt disease has cause widespread mortality among redbay (Persea borbonia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and avocado (Persea americana) trees in the southeastern U.S. A team of…  More 

Prescribed Fire Effects on Soil Fertility

USDA Forest Service researcher John Butnor wondered how dormant-season prescribed fire affects forest soil fertility in the months after a burn. Do nutrients from burned pine straw, grasses, and woody debris remain in the forest? Others have studied soil a year or more after a prescribed burn. Butnor’s research compares soil chemistry before burning and…  More 

Science in Practice Webinars

Last year, USDA Forest Service scientist Stephanie Laseter launched a webinar series called Science in Practice. In her role as a liaison between the Southern Research Station and Southern Region of the National Forest System, Laseter links SRS researchers and their recent findings with land managers in the Region and across the Southern Group of…  More 

New Species Named After SRS Research Entomologist

Twenty-five years ago, Brian Sullivan saw a fungus growing in bark alongside the small southern pine engraver (Ips avulsus). The beetle is native to the U.S. and commonly kills stressed pine trees. Sullivan, a USDA Forest Service research entomologist, examined the fungus. He identified its genus but could not identify the species – the fungus…  More 

Chinese Privet, Arthropods, and Bees

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is one of the worst invasive plants in the South. It dominates the shrub layer and often becomes the only shrub underneath trees, especially in streamside areas. But insects and spiders living in fallen leaves and leaf litter were not affected by a privet invasion in Georgia, as a recent study…  More 

Controlling the Spread of Callery Pear

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) can be found across most of the eastern U.S. and in a few western states as well. The nonnative tree was brought to the U.S. in 1917 by a USDA employee searching for a blight-resistant species that could be bred with European pear to increase fruit production. The most common Callery…  More