Chinese tallow leaf litter negatively affects frogs

“Where I grew up in the Houston area, Chinese tallow was the main tree in forests near my house. They were a beautiful crimson color in the fall and great for climbing,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Daniel Saenz. “But most importantly, they were the best source of ammunition. Tallow fruits were the perfect size…  More 

Climate change worsens heatwaves

Since the 1980s, climate change has increased the impact of heatwaves. They arrive earlier, last longer, have higher temperatures, and cover wider areas. Their effects across the globe, however, vary by location and income level. USDA Forest Service scientist Jeffrey Prestemon contributed to a study, led by Mohammad Reza Alizadeh at McGill University, that shows…  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 

Fires change forests

A study spanning four continents and 67 years suggests that frequent fire is causing grasslands to replace savannas. The effects of changing fire frequencies may take several decades to become substantial, reports the study led by Stanford University researcher Adam Pellegrini, with contributions from USDA Forest Service research plant physiologist Mary Anne Sword Sayer and…  More 

Water Supply from Southern State and Private Forest Lands

Forests provide the most stable and highest quality water supplies among all land uses. A report by the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service quantifies the role of state and private forest lands (SPF) in providing drinking water supply across the southern United States. About half of the South’s land area is forested,…  More 

Hardwood-Cypress Swamps, Unlikely Fire Hazards

In parts of the southeastern U.S., one unlikely forest type has great potential for extreme fire behavior: hardwood-cypress swamps. These shallow wetlands can work with their more frequently burned neighbors, pine flatwoods, to wreak havoc by easily igniting and sustaining tremendous wildfires, thus depleting carbon storage in these forests. Hardwood-cypress swamps and pine flatwoods are…  More 

Coastal Forests Face Rising Sea Levels, Increased Salinity

Ghost forests aren’t some spooky legend. They’re patches of dead and dying trees that haunt the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where sea levels are rising and land is sinking. USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists are working with partners across the coastal plain to understand where these watery…  More 

Study Wins Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award

Over the last three decades, forest vegetation has begun using significantly more water, as long-term climate and streamflow data reveal. USDA Forest Service scientists Jim Vose and Dave Wear contributed to the study, which was led by Taehee Hwang, an assistant professor at the University of Indiana. The findings were published in the journal Water…  More 

Barriers to Bioenergy?

At the national level, bioenergy is seen as a crucial component of a secure and renewable energy plan. Many people view southern forests as prime resources to support the hopeful bioenergy industry. But how is the national agenda for bioenergy received by communities in the South? “We are interested in understanding how the national discourse…  More 

Amphibian Life Cycles and Climate Change

From the trees in the forest to the various organisms populating it, all species of plants and animals have periodic life cycle events. Changes in climate have impacted the timing of these life cycle events for many species. This, in turn, can affect how likely coexisting populations are to interact with each other. A study…  More