Using Prescribed Fire to Restore and Sustain Oak Ecosystems

Used incorrectly, fire can degrade wood quality and its value as timber. When should managers use prescribed fire in hardwood stands? “I field a lot of questions from state and local partners about the long-term effects of using prescribed fire in hardwood stands,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Callie Schweitzer. Schweitzer has spent her career…  More 

How I Joined the Wood-in-the-Water Choir

Not everyone knows from an early age what they want to do when they grow up. I did. Raised in a small coastal Maine town that was home base for marine and estuarine research and with an affinity for the outdoors, I knew I was destined to pursue a career in marine biology. Right out…  More 

The Future of Forests & Water in the NC Piedmont

We’re all downstream from something. A new modeling study by the USDA Forest Service shows that forests make very good upstream neighbors. The research focuses on the Yadkin Pee-Dee River Basin in central North Carolina. Senior research ecologist Jim Vose and colleagues have been studying this area because of its projected rapid population growth and…  More 

“Promise of the Piedmont”

“South Carolina’s Promise of the Piedmont” meeting was convened to highlight the diverse and important resources of the Piedmont ecoregion. More than 20 participants from the USDA Forest Service and 25 participants from a range of partner organizations attended the three-day meeting in Newberry, South Carolina. The workshop focused on population growth and urbanization, water…  More 

Promoting Ecosystem Services with State Property Tax Programs

Every state in the U.S. offers tax breaks to forest landowners. But the details vary significantly – which makes it hard for policymakers to compare the programs, as a team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the University of Minnesota has shown. “State property tax programs incentivize ecosystem services,” says Forest Service scientist…  More 

Southern Timber Hit Hard by Hurricane

Hurricane Michael roared through Florida, Alabama, and Georgia on October 10 and delivered a hard hit to timberland owners and timber markets. John Alter and Elizabeth Alter manage more than 1,000 acres in Malone, Florida, including 18 Tree Farm stands. The Alters were honored as Florida’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 2015. “This is a true…  More 

Forest Birds & Forest Trees

For every stage of forest succession, there’s a bird species that needs it. But others are flexible, thriving in many types of forests. The blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, summer tanager, and white-breasted nuthatch are all associated with mature forests. But a recent study suggests these birds are forest generalists rather than mature…  More 

Longing for Longleaf Pine

In the early 1800s, longleaf pine-dominated forests stretched from eastern Texas to southern Virginia and south into central Florida. These forests covered about 90 million acres — nearly the size of the state of Montana. The dense, tightly grained wood from these forests built some of America’s great cities and railroads. Vast sections were cleared…  More 

Putting Mangrove Data to Work in East Africa

Mangrove forests are among the most carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet. Their stilt-like roots trap carbon and other nutrients that rivers have carried to the coastal deltas where mangroves grow. They act as a buffer, protecting coastlines and the people who live there from increasingly strong seas and storm surges. People depend on mangrove forests…  More 

Firefighting Class of 2018

A few hundred feet from the Davidson River in North Carolina, 20 young people sit in a classroom. It’s no ordinary class – it’s the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew in the making. The students are in the advanced wildfire management program at Schenck Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, operated by the USDA Forest Service.…  More