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 

Digging up Past Connections at Bent Creek

A rock protruding through the grass in the lawn at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest was the beginning of a part time, amateur archaeology “dig” for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) employee, Linda Benz. It is well known that rocks and whirling lawn mower blades are a bad combination, so when Linda noticed an exposed…  More 

The Appalachian-Cumberland Highland: The Next 50 Years

Knowing more about how the future might unfold can improve decisions that are sure to have long-term consequences. The Southern Forest Futures Project, a multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Forest Service, aimed to forecast and interpret changes in southern forests under multiple scenarios over the next several decades. The project also included a suite…  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 

Our Dry, Warm Future may Favor Oaks

Historically, many oak forests across the eastern U.S. experienced frequent low-intensity fires that promoted the establishment and growth of oaks. “However, fire and other disturbances have become less common,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist James Vose. “Red maple, tulip poplar, and other mesophytic, fire-sensitive, and shade-tolerant trees are increasing in many areas of the eastern…  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 

Managing for Natural Disturbances in Central Hardwood Forests

A recently published book edited by U.S. Forest Service researcher Katie Greenberg and Western Carolina University professor Beverly Collins offers detailed science-based information about the history of natural disturbances in the Central Hardwood Region of the U.S., and provides insight for managers and ecologists on managing the area’s forests. Published by Springer, Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of…  More 

American Chestnut, Past and Present

The Silvics of American Chestnut , a general technical report (GTR) available from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), describes the habitat, life history, special uses, genetics, and restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). The publication is the result of collaboration between G. Geoff Wang, the lead author, his colleagues at Clemson…  More 

When American Chestnuts Return to the Wild

Until recently, most American chestnut studies took place in labs or in orchards, as scientists focused on developing a blight-resistant hybrid that would grow like pure American chestnut. “However, restoring chestnut requires field research to determine whether the hybrids can resist blight, root rot disease, and damage from insects and other diseases,” says U.S. Forest…  More 

It’s Ramp Festival Time in the Southern Appalachians

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