Oak Regeneration and Acorn Size

Oak regeneration is an oft-discussed topic in forestry. The trees aren’t sustainably generating in many upland temperate forests due to a variety of factors — including the fact that they are less competitive than other, more sun-loving species such as tulip poplar. One way that forest managers are responding to this issue is artificial oak…  More 

Acorns and Their Predators

Acorns aren’t only for squirrels. They serve as a food source for a variety of wildlife, such as mice, deer, and turkeys. This presents somewhat of a problem for oak trees – acorn producers – because their future depends on acorns surviving and germinating to become the next generation. A recent study by USDA Forest…  More 

Testing Blight Resistance in American Chestnuts

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was a keystone tree species in the eastern U.S., once found in the forest overstory from Maine to Georgia. The loss of the “mighty giant” to chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica), a fungal disease accidentally imported from Asia in the early 1900s, reduced the once dominant chestnuts to remnant understory sprouts.…  More 

Using Prescribed Fire to Restore and Sustain Oak Ecosystems

Used incorrectly, fire can degrade wood quality and its value as timber. When should managers use prescribed fire in hardwood stands? “I field a lot of questions from state and local partners about the long-term effects of using prescribed fire in hardwood stands,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Callie Schweitzer. Schweitzer has spent her career…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Protecting Hardwood Resources

Trees provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and beauty. Trees are also vital to local economies. “In 2015, Kentucky had 193 hardwood sawmills,” says USDA Forest Service research forester Tom Brandeis. “That same year, Tennessee had 226 hardwood sawmills.” Each state produced more than 700 million board feet of hardwood lumber in 2015. Higher…  More 

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 

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 

Introducing Femelschlag

Visitors to the Cradle of Forestry (located near Brevard in Pisgah National Forest) learn about the Biltmore Forest School – the first school of forestry in North America. It was started in 1898 by Carl Schenck. A native of Germany, Schenck brought German forestry concepts to the United States. It is fitting that today in…  More 

American Chestnuts in the Field

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut with the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees to the forest.”…  More