Which Comes First, the Acorn or the Tree?

Acorns feed birds, bears, deer, and many small mammals. But the big oak trees that produce those acorns are also harvested to become timber. In managing hardwood forests, there’s a potential trade-off between harvesting oak trees for their valuable wood and reducing the number of oak trees left to produce acorns. To help determine a…  More 

100 Years of Forest Service Research in the South

In 2021, the Southern Research Station and all of USDA Forest Service celebrates the centennial of Forest Service research in the South. On July 1, 1921, the Forest Service established two new experiment stations. They were modest operations. The Southern Forest Experiment Station, headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, had only five employees. The Appalachian Forest…  More 

Which Bat Is That? The Smell Will Tell

For the first time, people can distinguish one bat species from another by smell alone. Scientists from the USDA Forest Service and Arkansas State University found that a new, portable electronic nose (e-nose) device is capable of distinguishing between bat species by their smells. This study is part of a larger effort to help bats…  More 

Prescribed Fire Effects on Soil Fertility

USDA Forest Service researcher John Butnor wondered how dormant-season prescribed fire affects forest soil fertility in the months after a burn. Do nutrients from burned pine straw, grasses, and woody debris remain in the forest? Others have studied soil a year or more after a prescribed burn. Butnor’s research compares soil chemistry before burning and…  More 

Science in Practice Webinars

Last year, USDA Forest Service scientist Stephanie Laseter launched a webinar series called Science in Practice. In her role as a liaison between the Southern Research Station and Southern Region of the National Forest System, Laseter links SRS researchers and their recent findings with land managers in the Region and across the Southern Group of…  More 

The Transformation of Wood

Wood can be hewn, sawed, bored, and planed. It can also be fractionated – which means splitting it into its chemical components of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. These compounds are tightly locked together. Together, they give trees the strength to stand tall. Separately, some of them are used to make: Paper, rayon, and cellophane; Food…  More 

New Species Named After SRS Research Entomologist

Twenty-five years ago, Brian Sullivan saw a fungus growing in bark alongside the small southern pine engraver (Ips avulsus). The beetle is native to the U.S. and commonly kills stressed pine trees. Sullivan, a USDA Forest Service research entomologist, examined the fungus. He identified its genus but could not identify the species – the fungus…  More 

Forests for Bats

“Almost all North American bats rely on forests for survival,” says Roger Perry, USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. Perry recently led the team that updated Forest Management and Bats, a booklet designed for private landowners and anyone managing forests. It was first published in 2006 by Bat Conservation International, and Daniel Taylor of BCI…  More 

Collaborative Research on the Future of Wild Turkeys

For more than a decade, wild turkey populations across the southeastern United States have been in decline – in terms of both production/recruitment and overall numbers, all while the number of people hunting turkeys has been increasing. The Wild Turkey Reproductive Ecology research project is an effort to better understand the population dynamics of wild…  More 

Asian Clams and Native Mussel Growth

Native freshwater mussels grew more slowly when invasive Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) were abundant. The study was led by Wendell Haag, a USDA Forest Service research fisheries biologist. It was published in the journal Freshwater Biology. Mussels live out of sight – buried in the river bottom, eating algae and other small particles of organic…  More