Tri-colored bats & white-nose syndrome

The only mammal that truly flies, bats are celebrated for many reasons. Including their looks. “Tri-colored bats are the cutest little things,” says Susan Loeb of the USDA Forest Service. “They’re tiny – they weigh less than a quarter of an ounce. And each one of their hairs has three colors on it: yellow, black,…  More 

New synthesis of wildland fire smoke science

A comprehensive, open access book on smoke from wildland fires across the U.S. is now available. Wildland Fire Smoke in the United States: A Scientific Assessment synthesizes the physical, chemical, biological, social, and policy issues critical to mitigating the impacts of smoke from wildland fires. Seventy researchers, land managers, and other experts co-authored the book.…  More 

Your home stores carbon for decades

Wood is infinitely useful. Look around, and you’ll find it in all sorts of places, from cardboard boxes to pianos. It is even used in some frames for bikes and cars. If you live in the U.S., wood was also likely used to build your home. All these wood-based items are valuable to people in…  More 

Wildfires on a warmer planet

Wildfires are projected to burn three times as much area on federal lands by the end of the century, as compared to previous decades. Furthermore, across all climate scenarios, median federal spending for wildfire suppression is projected nearly triple, translating into a $3.70 billion increase compared to historic spending over the same time frame. The…  More 

Air, wind, and fire

Imagine water flowing smoothly down a river. When it hits a rock, the flow of the water moves and bends, creating turbulence. Air moves in a similar fashion as it flows through a forest and encounters objects and other movement in its path — but we can’t see it. Unless something is present to help…  More 

Planting oaks: a recipe for success

Growing oak trees to maturity begins with two ingredients: viable acorns and competitive seedlings. USDA Forest Service scientist Stacy Clark wrote a cookbook to help managers with the regeneration process in healthy, productive oak forests. To regenerate an oak forest, healthy, large oak seedlings and saplings must be present in the understory before overstory trees…  More 

Long-term impact of hurricanes on forest markets and carbon storage

Hurricanes have long-term impacts on forest markets and the welfare of landowners in areas hit the hardest. They also disrupt carbon storage processes in forests. USDA Forest Service scientist Jesse Henderson recently published a study in Forest Policy and Economics that showed replanting trees after disasters like Hurricane Michael is the best way to foster…  More 

Improving hurricane assessments with FIA data

In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall and left a trail of damage of over six million acres of forest and ten billion cubic feet of timber across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.   Timber is a critical part of the economy in all three states, so measuring damage to forested land was vital for the…  More 

Bringing science from groundwater to surface

On May 3, 2022 the USDA Forest Service hosted a virtual Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum. More than 40 scientists, researchers, and other partners came together to discuss projects occurring on the Santee Experimental Forest. The Santee Experimental Forest is nestled in the Francis Marion National Forest 10 miles from the coast in South Carolina.…  More 

The fate of wood

Trees are part of the carbon cycle. When they die, they go on storing carbon for a while. But as the fallen trunks and large branches decompose, that carbon moves into the soil and the atmosphere. USDA Forest Service researcher Carl Trettin and his colleagues have designed a new study to show how wood-carbon moves…  More