Detecting the Pathogen That Stalks the Endangered Florida Torreya

Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is a critically endangered conifer tree in swift decline since the 1950s. The torreya fungus (Fusarium torreyae) is currently devastating the remaining Florida torreya population. The fungus forms cankers, or localized dead areas, that damage branch or trunk tissue and eventually kill the trees. In the face of extinction from this…  More 

Site Prep Tractors and Their Potential for Prescribed Fire

Site preparation (site prep) tractors are large-wheeled machines with mulcher head attachments. These machines can turn shrubs and small trees into wood chips and chunks. They are often used to control vegetation before a prescribed fire, improve wildlife habitat, or as a replacement for fire where the risk is too high. If site prep tractors…  More 

The Quest to Sustain White Oak Under Fire

White oak (Quercus alba) is an incredibly important species, anchoring ecosystems and economies. Current demand for white oak is surging due to its use in making barrels to support a growing spirits industry. Thus, there’s a real need understand the best tools to promote and sustain white oak in forests to support both economic and…  More 

Scientists Share Knowledge on Sustaining Oak at Symposium

For the first time since 2002, scientists and land managers met to share knowledge on sustaining and conserving oak forests in the eastern U.S. The oak symposium was held October 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee and hosted by The University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries. The meeting featured 33 invited speakers, an audience…  More 

Lessons from Forest Soils Research

“Soils are the foundation of everything in terms of growth and productivity,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Jennifer Knoepp. Knoepp explains that “soils have integrated all the conditions that have resulted from the growth of an ecosystem” and thus reflect the past and present vegetation, climate, and biology. This profound interaction between soils and life…  More 

Carbon Pools and Fluxes in Southern Appalachian Forests

An estimated 35 percent of the global terrestrial carbon is stored in soil and biotic carbon pools, such as forests. These pools can store or release carbon. Because forests store immense amounts of carbon, forest management is becoming part of efforts to increase carbon sequestration and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Long-term research from the USDA…  More 

Research Partnerships with Native American Communities

“The Southern Research Station is working with a number of Native American tribes to promote forest ecosystem restoration and sustainability,” says Monica Schwalbach, USDA Forest Service assistant director. The projects focus on sustainability of botanical species that are important to indigenous communities. SRS researcher Michelle Baumflek is the science lead for many of these projects,…  More 

Significant Trees of the Eastern Cherokee

A partnership between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station has led to the development of a new educational module for Cherokee youth. The module is centered on seven significant trees of the Eastern Cherokee and connects these trees to Cherokee culture and forest management. The tree…  More 

A Yearly Health Checkup for U.S. Forests

Every year, the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks changing forest conditions, including national assessments as well as focused regional analysis. The resulting report is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. Forests constantly change as a result of tree growth and mortality, weather events and climate…  More 

Hitchhiking Seeds Pose Substantial Risk of Nonnative Plant Invasions

Seeds that float in the air can hitchhike in unusual places – like the air-intake grille of a refrigerated shipping container. A team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service, Arkansas State University, and other organizations recently conducted a study that involved vacuuming seeds from air-intake grilles over two seasons at the Port of Savannah,…  More