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 

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