Shifting Window of Growing Seasons

When winter comes to an end, it’s no mystery that warming temperatures and spring rains bring new life. Wildlife emerges, flowers bloom, and brilliant green leaves begin to fill the ground and the forest canopy—all part of their seasonal cycle known as phenology. Observers know those green leaves don’t appear at the same time every…  More 

Eastern Trees Move North & West

After analyzing extensive data collected on 86 tree species in the eastern U.S., researchers found that most trees have been shifting their ranges westward or northward in response to temperature and precipitation changes. Scientists from Purdue University, North Carolina State University, and the U.S. Forest Service collaborated on the study, which was recently published in…  More 

Topography and Drought

The planet is changing, and the hydrologic cycle will change along with it. Extreme droughts – as well as extremely wet weather – are expected to become more frequent and more intense. “These changes may interact with topography to affect species composition in unexpected ways,” says Chelcy Miniat. Miniat is a researcher and project leader…  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 

Home is a Pine Tree

Every summer, female Indiana bats fly through southern Appalachian forests looking for a place to rear their pups. A new study, coauthored by U.S. Forest Service research ecologist, Susan Loeb, suggests that the bats are looking for yellow pine snags. Although Indiana bats sometimes roosted in other trees, they strongly preferred yellow pine snags, especially…  More 

White Pines, Hemlocks, and Sunlight

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest…  More 

The Koen Experimental Forest

  Established in 1951 in northern Arkansas, the Henry R. Koen Experimental Forest (Koen) is covered mostly in oak-hickory upland hardwood forest and oak-pine stands. Named for Henry R. Koen, forest supervisor of the Ozark National Forest during the first half of the 20th century, the experimental forest was set aside to develop scientific principles for forest…  More 

Lizards or Salamanders?

The southern Appalachians are crawling with salamanders. In western North Carolina alone, more than 45 species can be found, and they are critical members of food webs – both as predators and as prey. Salamanders and other amphibians, as well as reptiles, can be affected by forest management practices. “However, amphibians and reptiles are ecologically,…  More 

Alum Creek Experimental Forest

The 4,660-acre Alum Creek Experimental Forest (Alum Creek) was established in the late 1950s in the upper headwaters of the Lake Winona Basin near Jessieville, Arkansas. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Southern Pine Ecology and Management unit, Alum Creek is affiliated administratively with the Ouachita National Forest. From 1960 until the…  More 

Managing Southern Appalachian Hardwood Forests with Fire

Findings from a study led by a U.S. Forest Service scientist suggest that more frequent use of prescribed fire will be needed to reach common management objectives for the hardwood forests in the southern Appalachian region. The findings by Forest Service emeritus scientist Tom Waldrop and collaborators were published in a recent issue of the…  More