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 

Cross-Site Studies Take Root across the Southern Experimental Forest Network

Most of the 19 southern experimental forests were founded in the 1930s or 1940s. Over the past five years, they have become something new: the SRS Experimental Forest Network. “Each experimental forest is a regional asset,” says Stephanie Laseter, a USDA Forest Service scientist and network co-lead. Johnny Boggs is also a co-lead. “When part…  More 

The Southern Experimental Forest Network

The Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service manages 19 experimental forests that function as living, transpiring laboratories. They are scattered across 10 states, separated by hundreds of miles, and many are approaching 80 years old. Most of them are located on national forests. Five years ago, SRS began linking the 19 experimental forests…  More 

Working Together Towards Chestnut Restoration

On November 3, about forty people from the USDA Forest Service and The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) gathered virtually. It was the second biennial plan of work meeting between TACF and SRS. Since the 1990s, the two organizations have worked together on American chestnut (Castanea dentata) restoration. In 2017 and in 2019, they committed to…  More 

Hemlock Woolly Adelgids & Their Predator Beetle, Laricobius nigrinus

Laricobius nigrinus is a small beetle that eats an even smaller bug – the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA. Since 2003, Laricobius has been used to help control HWA. But the beetle, which is native to western North America, is only active during the fall, winter and early spring. Recently, USDA Forest Service research entomologist…  More 

Impact of Fire Management on Breeding Birds in the Southern Appalachians

To increase the prescribed “burn window” for reaching restoration goals, land managers are now burning during winter (the dormant season) as well as spring and summer (the growing season) and fall. Management goals often include fuel reduction, oak regeneration, habitat improvement for target wildlife species, and forest restoration to conditions once created by Native Americans…  More 

Experimental Forest Network in Action Mode

Nineteen USDA Forest Service experimental forests grace the South. Each was established to solve a specific natural resource problem, and some are nearing a century old. Pressing natural resource problems at that time included naval pitch pine stores and reforesting vast cutover lands. In 2015, SRS began creating a network for data, ideas, people, and…  More 

Reptiles and Amphibians Unharmed by Prescribed Fires in Early Growing Season

Amphibians and reptiles tend to be most active during the spring and summer, when it’s warmer. A recent USDA Forest Service study compared how herpetofauna respond to prescribed fires conducted during the growing season – when vegetation is actively growing – versus those in dormant season months. “Historically, prescribed burning has been limited to the…  More 

A Tour of the Eastern Experimental Forests

In February 2018, Southern Research Station scientists and staff participated in the second round of SRS experimental forest tours. SRS manages 19 experimental forests. Three teams visited 11 eastern experimental forests over five days. In September 2017, two teams had visited eight of the western experimental forests. Experimental forests are a station-level asset. They are…  More 

Tracking Bees on Experimental Forests

At first sight, the nine plastic cups in a grassy yard at Bent Creek Experimental Forest don’t look like part of a nationwide monitoring survey. But the cups are actually simple bee traps, and a number of U.S. Forest Service facilities are part of a network of bee monitoring stations that stretch across the country.…  More