FIA Update on Alabama’s Forests

In the forests of Alabama you’ll find longleaf pine woodlands, bottomland swamps, sinkholes, and springs. You’ll see fox squirrels, indigo snakes, gopher tortoises, and pitcher plants. The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the U.S. Forest Service collects field data on forest resources across the state, visiting around 700 of the more than 5,600…  More 

One is the Deadliest Number

When the redbay ambrosia beetle, native to Asia, was first detected in coastal Georgia in 2002, it didn’t set off any alarm bells. “Ambrosia beetles rarely damage healthy trees, so this find was initially considered unimportant. But the subsequent epidemic of laurel wilt in the Southeast has caused a re-examination of the significance of these…  More 

Sassafras and Laurel Wilt Disease

The scent of a crushed sassafras leaf is unforgettable – sweet, pungent, fragrant. If you have never plucked one of the leaves and rolled it around between your fingers, you should. “Sassafras is susceptible to laurel wilt disease,” says U.S. Forest Service research mathematical statistician KaDonna Randolph. “The disease has not reached the heart of…  More 

Recovering from Laurel Wilt

Originally from Asia, the redbay ambrosia beetle and the fungus it carries in its jaws have found a new home in the southern United States. Eradication is impossible at this point, and the fungus causes laurel wilt, a highly destructive disease that affects redbay, swamp bay, sassafras, avocado, and pondberry – as well as every other…  More 

Forest Health Research and Education Center

Sometimes it seems as if the forests of the eastern U.S. are losing the battle with invasive insects and pathogens – emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, Asian longhorned beetles, spongy moth, chestnut blight, sudden oak death, thousand cankers disease, laurel wilt – the list goes on and on. Scientists and land managers continue to…  More 

Laurel Wilt Continues to Spread

The redbay laurels that once graced the coastal forests and residential landscapes of the Southeast have all but disappeared, taken down by laurel wilt, a deadly disease caused by a fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) carried in the jaws of the nonnative redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus). Both beetle and fungus apparently arrived from Asia through the…  More 

The Future of Invasive Insects and Diseases in Southern Forests

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station, along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examines a variety of…  More