A History of Naval Stores, a Forgotten Forest Industry

Before the advent of modern boats, wooden ships made up the navies of our world. Naval stores – pitch, tar, turpentine, and rosin – were used to caulk seams, preserve ropes, and maintain the seaworthiness of wooden ships. Naval stores also found many other uses prior to the modern petrochemical era. USDA Forest Service emeritus…  More 

Summing Up NABat Successes

The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) was designed to meet local needs, and it must do that if locals are expected to continue participating. NABat launched in 2015 as a collaborative, long-term program to assess the status and trends of North American bats at local, regional, and range-wide scales. NABat developed out of a…  More 

One Treatment Does Not Fit All Sizes

Bats are important components of healthy forests and provide critical ecological services across numerous different ecosystems. For decades, bat populations throughout the southern U.S. have been declining due to habitat disturbance and loss. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed to two recent publications to address this issue, suggesting ways to improve bat management practices…  More 

Shifting to a Bioeconomy

Forests and trees have always been crucial to people’s food security, nutrition, and culinary cultural identity. With a steadily growing world population, one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century will be increasing food production while maintaining worldwide forest health and biodiversity. “I have come to realize that we, forest management experts, don’t…  More 

Get Black Outside Events Connect People of Color with the Outdoors

In 2019, data collected from National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surveys found that 88 to 95 percent of all visitors to public lands are white. The national non-profit collaborative Get Black Outside is partnering with the Forest Service to change that statistic. Four Forest Service units recently joined…  More 

Prevention is Key: Lessons from Laurel Wilt

Since 2002, forests in the southeastern U.S. have struggled against a disease called laurel wilt. In 18 years, laurel wilt has spread to 11 southeastern states and killed hundreds of millions of trees. A review article by USDA Forest Service scientist Rabiu Olatinwo reflects on the origins and spread of laurel wilt throughout the last…  More 

Fast, Field-Based Diagnosis of Laurel Wilt Disease

The redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) and a fungal pathogen (Raffaelea lauricola) were first introduced to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Since then, the deadly duo known as laurel wilt disease has cause widespread mortality among redbay (Persea borbonia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and avocado (Persea americana) trees in the southeastern U.S. A team of…  More 

Pathways to Climate Safety

When forest animals need to leave their home territories, because of climate change impacts like drought, flooding, or heat or because humans are moving in, where do they go? They need a habitat corridor or pathway – with tree cover, food, and water – to protect them on their journey to a nearby suitable habitat.…  More 

Mapping Disturbances to Protect the Future of Our Forests

Our forests are changing rapidly, and with this comes the need to both understand and track how and where this change is happening. Monitoring forest disturbances is critical for effective decision making, yet our ability to do so was largely insufficient until recently. Researchers can now track a significant amount of these changes with new…  More 

One Acorn, Two Acorns, Three Acorns, Four…

By lying on your back under an oak tree, you can look up and estimate its number of acorns. But why? “A lot of state wildlife agencies do acorn surveys annually because hunters want to know crop sizes, which fluctuate like crazy from year to year, among different oak species, and among locations,” says USDA…  More