Southern Research Station Headquarters - Asheville, NC
Main Logo of Southern Research Station, Stating: Southern Research Station - Asheville, NC, with a saying of 'Science you can use!'
[Images] Five photos of different landscape

Compass July 2006
Download Issue 6 PDF

Compass is a quarterly publication of the USDA Forest Service's Southern Research Station (SRS). As part of the Nation's largest forestry research organization -- USDA Forest Service Research and Development -- SRS serves 13 Southern States and beyond. The Station's 130 scienists work in more than 20 units located across the region at Federal laboratories, universites, and experimental forests.

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Issue 6

Research Makes Afforestation Work

by Kim MacQueen

Let’s say you have inherited a few hundred acres of farmland in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV), the vast, 25-million-acre complex of forested wetlands running from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. You’re standing outside taking it all in, fertile farmland rented out for soybean production, dotted with isolated stands of elm, ash, sugarberry, and oak.

Back in the early 1900s, that land looked a lot different. Rather than a few trees here and there, your acreage was filled with bottomland hardwoods so thick the canopy darkened the understory. The trees provided habitat for wildlife and kept the surrounding air and water clean. Over the next 100 years, it was drained and deforested for agricultural use, damaging the ecosystem and contributing to erosion, decreased water quality, and greenhouse gasses.(...continued...)

Photo of Double-wall plastic tree shelters
Double-wall plastic tree shelters have been shown to reduce animal predation, stimulate growth, and increase seedling survival of young oaks.
(Photo by Melissa Carlson)

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