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Compass July 2006
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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

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Southern Pine Ecosystems

1 Broce, Alberto B.; Zurek, Ludek; Kalisch, James A. [and others]. 2006. Pyemotes herfsi (Acari: Pyemotidae), a mite new to North America as the cause of bite outbreaks. Journal of Medical Entomology. 43(3): 610-613. (Editor’s note: SRS scientist John Moser co-authored this paper.)

High incidences of red, itching, and painful welts on people in the Midwestern United States led to the discovery of a European species of mite, Pyemotes herfsi (Oudemans) (Acari: Pyemotidae), preying on gall-making midge larvae on oak leaves. The mites’ great reproductive potential, small size, and high capacity for dispersal by wind make them difficult to control or avoid.

2 Burke, Marianne K.; Sheridan, Philip, eds. 2005. Atlantic white cedar: ecology, restoration, and management: Proceedings of the Arlington Echo symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-91. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 74 p.

A symposium was held on the globally threatened and coastally restricted tree species, Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in June 2003. The theme of the symposium was “Uniting Forces for Action,” and participants in the symposium came from throughout the range of this species, from New England to the Gulf Coast. More than 15 papers and posters were presented, addressing topics on community and ecosystem ecology of natural Atlantic white cedar habitats, ecosystem restoration, and stewardship efforts; the current range of the species; information on range-wide genetics; and the long-term effects of various silvicultural manipulations on the entire vegetation community in the Atlantic white cedar habitat.

3 Butnor, John R.; Johnsen, Kurt H.; Sanchez, Felipe G. 2006. Whole-tree and forest floor removal from a loblolly pine plantation have no effect on forest floor CO2 efflux 10 years after harvest. Forest Ecology and Management. 227: 89-95.

Intensive management of southern pine plantations has yielded multifold increases in productivity over the last half century. The process of harvesting merchantable material and preparing a site for planting can lead to a considerable loss of organic matter. We were interested to learn whether extreme losses of organic matter would affect soil respiration (CO2 flux back to the atmosphere), soil carbon, and tree growth 10 years after a harvest. This work was done at the Croatan National Forest, Long Term Soil Productivity site in eastern North Carolina. We found no differences in soil respiration, soil carbon content, or tree growth between a typical harvest where only the merchantable bole is harvested and a drastic treatment where the whole-tree and the organic layer of the forest floor is stripped away. Both treatments resulted in a greater quantity of soil C, indicating that the disturbance associated with harvesting enhanced soil C, at least over the short term. This demonstrates loss of organic matter in these plantations does not alter soil respiration, nor is it detrimental to forest productivity over the course of a rotation. However, over several rotations, nutrient deficiencies may be exacerbated.

4 Laves, Kevin S.; Loeb, Susan C. 2006. Differential estimates of southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) population structure based on capture method. American Midland Naturalist. 155: 237-243.

Southern flying squirrels are important components of southern forest ecosystems. They are major consumers of mast, are prey for many carnivores, and negatively impact the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker by usurping its cavities. Thus, obtaining accurate estimates of southern flying squirrel population size and structure is important for effective management. We compared estimates of southern flying squirrel population size and structure using two common capture methods: Sherman live traps and cavity inspections. We found that overall trappability and trappability of various age and sex groups varied between methods and years. Our results suggest that, when possible, both trapping and nest box or cavity examinations be done to ensure unbiased estimates of southern flying squirrel population abundance and structure.

5 Ma, Siyan; Chen, Jiquan; Butnor, John R. [and others]. 2005. Biophysical controls on soil respiration in the dominant patch types of an oldgrowth, mixed-conifer forest. Forest Science. 51(3): 221-232.

California’s Sierra Nevada old-growth, mixed-conifer forests are comprised of several ecological patch types, which cycle carbon in very different ways. These patches are in close proximity and vary from large forest trees (sugar pine, red fir, white fir), to nitrogen-fixing ceanothus shrubs and dry sandy patches with drought-adapted plants. To understand the factors which control seasonal losses of carbon to the atmosphere, we used portable and automated measurement systems to sample soil respiration from snow melt to mid-summer drought. The highest respiration rates were found in the shrub system, followed by the forest and bare soil patches. Using this data we developed an exponential model to calculate the total soil carbon flux summed by an area-weighted average across all three patch types for year 2000.

6 Miller, Daniel R. 2006. Ethanol and (–)-α-pinene: attractant kairomones for some large wood-boring beetles in Southeastern USA. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 32: 779-794.

We found that the combination of ethanol and (-)-α-pinene is attractive to numerous species of wood boring beetles in the South, such as the southern sawyer beetle and reproduction weevils. These results provide support for the use of traps baited with ethanol and (-)-α-pinene to detect and intercept common large wood-boring beetles from the Southeastern United States at ports-ofdeparture in the USA and overseas portsof- entry, as well as monitor populations of woodborers in forested areas in the South.

7 Sword Sayer, Mary Anne; Brissette, John C.; Barnett, James P. 2005. Root growth and hydraulic conductivity of southern pine seedlings in response to soil temperature and water availability after planting. New Forests. 30: 253-272.

Advances in forestry technology have given land managers in the Southeastern United States several options regarding which pine species to plant. To guide these decisions, we used root growth and water uptake of planted seedlings as measures of establishment success and evaluated three seed sources each of shortleaf, loblolly, and longleaf pine in response to soil temperature and moisture. Results suggest that the establishment of longleaf pine is better compared to shortleaf and loblolly pine in cool soil. When the soil is warm and moisture is not limiting, the establishment of shortleaf and loblolly pine is superior to that of longleaf pine. As soil moisture decreases, however, longleaf pine establishment may surpass that of loblolly pine. Within a species, seed source also influences establishment.

Wetlands, Bottomlands, and Streams

8 Devall, Margaret S.; Thien, Leonard B.; Ellgaard, Erik; and Flowers, George. 2006. Lead transport into Bayou Trepagnier wetlands in Louisiana, USA. Journal of Environmental Quality. 35: 758-765.

Establishment of a petroleum refinery in 1916 near the headwaters of Bayou Trepagnier in Louisiana, with subsequent dredging of the bayou, resulted in spoil banks (waste material removed during dredging) containing high levels of lead. Cores were taken from baldcypress trees along two transects running perpendicular from the spoil bank into a cypress-tupelo swamp. Soil samples and five year segments of the cores were prepared and analyzed for heavy metals. Levels of lead in Bayou Trepagnier swamp trees were compared to levels in baldcypress trees growing along Stinking Bayou, a nearby reference area. Baldcypress trees in the cypress-tupelo swamp soil with moderate levels of lead concentrated much more lead than trees growing on the heavily polluted bank, or trees from the reference area. Lead in the spoil bank is in a form not easily taken up by plants, but when the spoil bank soil is in contact with the brackish bayou water (during storms, flooding, hurricanes, etc.), lead is released into the water column and washed into the swamp in a form that is more available to plants.

9 Lockhart, Brian Roy; Ezell, Andrew W.; Hodges, John D.; Clatterbuck, Wayne K. 2006. Using natural stand development patterns in artificial mixtures: a case study with cherrybark oak and sweetgum in east-central Mississippi, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 222: 202-210.

Results from a long-term planted mixture of cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) showed sweetgum taller in height and larger in diameter than cherrybark oak early in plantation development. By age 17 years, cherrybark oak was similar in height and diameter with sweetgum, and by age 21 years was taller in height and larger in diameter than sweetgum. The ascendance of cherrybark oak above sweetgum in an intimate plantation mixture confirms results from a stand reconstruction study of cherrybark oak and sweetgum development in natural stands. Afforestation of abandoned agricultural fields in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley has received much attention in the past 20 years. Concern has been expressed about planting only oaks and the resulting effects of early intra-specific competition following canopy closure.

10 Love, Joseph W.; Taylor, Christopher M.; Warren, Melvin L., Jr. 2005. Predator density and dissolved oxygen affect body condition of Stenonema tripunctatum (Ephemeroptera, Heptageniidae) from intermittent streams. Hydrobiologia. 543: 113-118.

The effects of population density, fish density, and dissolved oxygen on body condition of late-instar nymphs of Stenonema tripunctatum (Ephemeroptera, Heptageniidae) were investigated using nymphs sampled from isolated, upland stream pools over summer in central Arkansas, USA. All three factors exhibited high variation among pools. Body condition was negatively related to fish density, and positively related to dissolved oxygen (when included in the model). High fish densities maybe related to low body condition because they cause reduced foraging or force earlier emergence at small body sizes. These results emphasize the combined effects of biotic and abiotic factors on body condition in mayflies, and support earlier findings that population density is a less important factor.

Mountain and Highland Ecosystems

11 Bragg, Don C. 2005. Presettlement Pinus taeda in the Mississippi Valley Alluvial Plain of the Monroe County, Arkansas area. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science. 59: 187-195.

Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) is the most dominant conifer in the Southeastern United States. However, loblolly pine was conspicuously absent from virtually the entire Mississippi Valley Alluvial Plain during presettlement times. In that period (before 1850), this portion of Monroe County was a complex mosaic of hardwood swamps and flatwoods, scattered prairies and other openings, and occasional conifer-dominated stands. In a landscape covered with bottomland oaks, gums, hickories, other hardwoods, and baldcypress swamps, loblolly pinedominated communities are unexpected elements of structural, functional, and compositional diversity. Thus, modernday analogs of these loblolly pine forests are not artifacts of recent human influence, but rather self-replacing components of the ecosystem.

12 Phillips, Jonathan D.; Marion, Daniel A. 2006. Biomechanical effects of trees on soil and regolith: beyond treethrow. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 96(2): 233-247.

In addition to uprooting (treethrow), forest soils in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas are profoundly influenced by physical displacement of soil by treeroot growth and infilling of stump rot pits. Root growth displaces soil both vertically and laterally. Infilling of stump pits occurs rapidly, includes external material as well as soil detachment from the pit walls, and results in subsurface stone accumulations. The estimated times for 100 percent of the forest floor to be affected are shortest for soil displacement, intermediate for uprooting, and longest for stump hole effects. These biomechanical processes are clearly important in explaining spatial variation in soil characteristics.

13 Simon, Steven A.; Collins, Thomas K.; Kauffman, Gary L. [and others]. 2005. Ecological zones in the Southern Appalachians: first approximations. Res. Pap. SRS-41. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 41 p. [Editor’s note: Station scientists W. Henry McNab co-authored this publication.] Forest environments of the Southern

Appalachian Mountains and their characteristic plant communities are among the most varied in the Eastern United States. Considerable data are available on the distribution of plant communities relative to temperature and moisture regimes, but not much information on fertility as an environmental influence has been published; nor has anyone presented a map of the major, broad-scale ecosystems of the region, which could be used for planning and management of biological resources on forestlands. Our objectives were to identify predominant ecological units, develop a grouping of geologic formations related to site fertility, and model and map ecological zones of the Southern Appalachians. Results of this project suggest that bedrock geology is an important factor affecting the distribution of vegetation. The developed map is a realistic depiction of ecological zones that can be used by resource managers for purposes ranging from broadscale assessment to local-scale project planning.

Inventory and Monitoring

14 Bentley, James W.; Lowe, Larry. 2006. Kentucky’s timber industry— an assessment of timber product output and use, 2003. Resour. Bull. SRS-105. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 50 p.

This report contains the findings of a 2003 canvas of all primary woodusing plants in Kentucky, and presents changes in product output and residue use since 2001. It complements the Forest Inventory and Analysis periodic inventory of volume and removals from the State’s timberland. The canvass was conducted to determine the amount and source of wood receipts and annual timber product drain, by county in 2003, and to determine interstate and cross-regional movement of industrial roundwood. Only primary wood-using mills were canvassed. Primary mills are those that process roundwood in log or bolt form or as chipped roundwood. Examples of industrial roundwood products are saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, poles, and logs used for composite board products. Mills producing products from residues generated at primary and secondary processors were not canvassed. Trees chipped in the woods were included in the estimate of timber drain only if they were delivered to a primary domestic manufacturer.

15 Johnson, T.G.; Knight, M. 2006. South Carolina’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product output and use, 2003. Resour. Bull. SRS-106. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 39 p.

This report contains the findings of a 2003 canvass of all primary wood-using plants in South Carolina, and presents changes in product output and residue use since 2001. It complements the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) periodic inventory of volume and removals from the State’s timberland. The canvass was conducted to determine the amount and source of wood receipts and annual timber product drain, by county, in 2003 and to determine interstate and cross-regional movement of industrial roundwood. Only primary wood-using mills were canvassed. Primary mills are those that process roundwood in log or bolt form or as chipped roundwood. Examples of industrial roundwood products are saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, poles, and logs used for composite board products. Mills producing products from residues generated at primary and secondary processors were not canvassed. Trees chipped in the woods were included in the estimate of timber drain only if they were delivered to a primary domestic manufacturer.

Large-Scale Assessment and Monitoring

16 Liu, Yongqiang. 2005. Enhancement of the 1988 Northern United States drought due to wildfires. Geophysical Research Letters. 32(10): 1-4.

Drought provides a favorable environment for the ignition and spread of intense wildfires. This study examines the opposite relationship between the two natural disasters, that is, the role of wildfires in the development of drought. The case of the 1988 Northern United States wildfires is investigated. Emissions of smoke particles from the wildfires and the resulting optical depth are estimated using wildfire data and empirical algorithms. Radiative forcing of the smoke particles and atmospheric response are simulated using a regional climate model. It is found that absorption of solar radiation by smoke particles weakens the North America trough in the middle latitudes, which is a major generator of precipitation in the Midwest. Rainfall in this region is therefore reduced, providing evidence for the role of wildfires in enhancing drought.

17 Prestemon, J.P.; Wear, D.N.; Holmes, T.P.; Stewart, F. 2006. Wildfire, timber salvage, and the economics of expediency. Forest Policy and Economics. 8(3): 312-322.

Federally required administrative planning rules and legal challenges can have significant economic impacts on timber salvage programs on public lands. We examined the costs of the delay in timber salvage caused by planning rules and the costs associated with the volume reductions forced by legal challenges in the case of post-fire timber salvage on the 2000 Bitterroot National Forest in the northern Rocky Mountains in the United States. Our analysis showed that the legal challenge to the salvage plan, reducing available timber salvage by twothirds, resulted in an $8.5 million loss to the U.S. treasury and an $8.8 million net loss to producers and consumers. We also found that the delay in timing of salvage initiation resulted in a net loss, after accounting for the overall reduction in the size of the salvage plan, of about 25 percent in timber receipts for the government and about 25 percent in timber market benefits.

Wildland Urban Interface and Urban Forestry

18 Reams, Margaret A.; Haines, Terry K.; Renner. 2005. The national database of wildfire mitigation programs: state, county, and local efforts to reduce wildfire risk [CDROM]. In: Proceedings of the 2004 Society of American Foresters National Convention: One Forest under Two Flags. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters.

The growth of residential communities within forested areas has increased the danger to life and property from uncontrolled wildfire. In response, states, counties and local governments in the United States have dramatically increased their wildfire mitigation efforts. Policymakers and fire officials are employing a wide range of regulatory and voluntary wildfire risk reduction programs. We researched wildfire hazard mitigation programs developed by state and local governments to establish the website, http://www.wildfireprograms.usda.gov. The Web site is a clearinghouse of information to assist wildfire protection officials, community leaders, and policy makers in the development of effective wildfire mitigation strategies. The site currently describes more than 190 programs in 31 States, and includes information about the purpose, features, and accomplishments of wildfire hazard mitigation efforts, as well as links to pertinent Web sites and program managers’ contact information.

19 Reams, Margaret A.; Haines, Terry K.; Renner, Cheryl R. [and others]. 2005. Goals, obstacles, and effective strategies of wildfire mitigation programs in the wildland-urban interface. Forest Policy and Economics. 7: 818-826.

The dramatic expansion into the wildland–urban interface places property, natural assets, and human life at risk from wildfire destruction. The United States National Fire Plan encourages communities to implement laws and outreach programs for pre-fire planning to mitigate the risk to area residents. A survey of regulatory and voluntary wildfire risk reduction program administrators suggests several new insights about risk mitigation efforts, including 1) how they are organized, 2) what they are trying to accomplish, 3) what the obstacles are, and 4) how well they may be working. We describe the goals and objectives of these programs, as well as the obstacles confronting managers. We explore trends in these programs, including participation in collaborative planning, use of program evaluation to measure progress toward goals, and program managers’ perceptions of their most effective programs for creating defensible space.

Foundation Programs

20 Connor, Kristina F., ed. 2006. Proceedings of the 13th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS- 92. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 640 p.

A range of issues affecting southern forests are addressed in 109 papers and 39 poster summaries. Papers are grouped in 14 sessions that include wildlife ecology; pine silviculture; longleaf pine; nutritional amendments; vegetation management; site preparation; hardwoods: artificial regeneration; hardwoods: midstory competition control; growth and yield; water quality; forest health; fire; hardwoods: natural regeneration; and hardwood intermediate treatments.

21 Kingsolver, John M.; Stephan, Karl; Moser, John C. 2006. A new species of Lasconotus (Coleoptera: Colydiidae) from Arizona and South Dakota. U.S.A. Entomological News. 117(1): 53- 56.

Lasconotus fitzgibbonae, a new species in the Colydiidae, is described. It is compared with Lasconotus coronatus (Hinton) from Mexico, originally described in the genus Chrysopogonius Hinton, now a synonym of Lasconotus Erichson. The South Dakota specimens were found under the root bark of Pinus edulis Engelm.

22 Selgrade, James F.; Roberds, James H. 2005. Results on asymptotic behaviour for discrete, two-patch metapopulations with density-dependent selection. Journal of Difference Equations and Applications. 11(4-5): 459-476.

A 4-dimensional system of nonlinear difference equations tracking allele frequencies and population sizes for a two-patch metapopulation model is studied. This system describes intergenerational changes brought about by density-dependent selection within patches and moderated by the effects of migration between patches. To determine conditions which result in similar behavior at the level of local populations, we introduce the concept of symmetric equilibrium and relate it to properties of allelic and genotypic fitness. We present examples of metapopulation stability, instability, and bistability, as well as an example showing that differentially greater migration into a stable patch results in metapopulation stability. Finally, we illustrate a Naimark- Sacker bifurcation giving a globally asymptotically stable invariant curve for the 4-dimensional model.




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Southern Research Station
Spring at SRS Headquarters, Asheville, NC
(Photo by Rodney Kindlund)


Photo of flooded conditions
Flooded conditions are the norm in the Lower Mississippi Valley.
(Photo by USA Forest Service)

Photo of the Mississippi River Delta
Aerial view of the Mississippi River Delta.
(Photo courtesy NASA)

Photo of sunset on a river
Sunset on the river.
(Photo by USDA Forest Service)

Photo of Wildland-urban interface
The wildland-urban interface in Western North Carolina.
(Photo by Rodney Kindlund)