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 

Breaking it down with insects: Deadwood decomposition across the globe

Across the globe, insects can decompose almost 30% of all fallen tree branches, trunks, and other deadwood. The findings have important implications for the global carbon cycle. USDA Forest Service scientists Michael Ulyshen and Grizelle Gonzalez, were part of an international research team that investigated the role of insects in decomposing deadwood in ecosystems across…  More 

Santee Experimental Forest Research Forum

On April 1, 2021, scientists and experts from the South and across the globe gathered virtually to talk about research on the Santee Experimental Forest. Santee EF is one of 84 sites in the USDA Forest Service Experimental Forest & Range Network. It was founded in 1937, one year after the Francis Marion National Forest…  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 

Climate Drivers of Carbon Gain and Water Loss in a Southern Appalachian Forest

The planet is warming, and warmth revs the machinery of life. “As it gets warmer, living things burn up more carbon through respiration,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Chris Oishi. “It’s true of trees and soil microbes.” Soil is bursting with invertebrate life, microbial life, and living plant roots. It’s also where decomposers do their…  More 

Disturbance Affects Relationship between the Nitrogen and Carbon Cycles

Carbon and nitrogen are always on the move. Both elements are versatile – they are constantly being converted from one form to another, and are required by all living things. “Because plants, animals, and microbes also require fixed ratios of the two elements, carbon and nitrogen’s chemical cycles are inherently linked,” says U.S. Forest Service…  More 

Release of Below-Ground Carbon by Root-Soil Interactions

Chris Oishi, research ecologist at the Forest Service Coweeta Hydological Laboratory, recently worked with scientists from Indiana University and Princeton University to develop a new tool to model the sensitivity of soil organic carbon to changing environmental conditions, an area that has represented a critical uncertainty in climate change modeling. The research was published in…  More 

Does Carbon in Wetland Soils Go With the Flow?

Among the various providers of ecosystem services, forested wetlands might be the champions. With their sponge-like abilities, they supply and purify water, protect communities from flooding, offer habitat for diverse species, produce timber and other goods, and present many opportunities for recreation and general enjoyment. Hidden in wetland soils is another critically important benefit: storage…  More