Foraging in the Future

Foraging can be as casual as searching for wild blackberries in a suburban backyard. At least a quarter of the U.S. population has foraged in this way. “Forests provide food, medicine, and other sundry items for subsistence and income,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Jim Chamberlain. Blackberries, blueberries, Christmas trees, firewood, fungi, grasses, greenery, mosses,…  More 

Water Tables and Wetlands

Some wetlands won’t stay wet, according to new research that blends long-term observations and climate projections. “By end of the 21st century, all five of the wetland sites we studied are predicted to become much drier,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ge Sun. The five wetlands are long-term research sites located throughout the southeastern…  More 

Trees in Protected Areas

Conservation goals range anywhere from aesthetics to survival. Among the most important of those is ensuring that an ecosystem is resilient to disturbances and provides as many different functions as possible. According to an assessment by a USDA Forest Service cooperating researcher, those qualities can be quantified using two metrics: rarity and evolutionary distinctiveness. Rarity…  More 

Projections of Future Climate and Annual Runoff

Hydrologists have traditionally relied on historic precipitation data to estimate broad-scale runoff. “Rainfall was always number one,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Ge Sun. “But things are changing and getting more complicated.” Sun co-authored a recent modeling study that investigated how other climate factors might influence future changes in runoff. The researchers were intrigued by…  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 

The Future of Fish in the NC Piedmont

What will fish communities of the North Carolina Piedmont look like in the future? “Many factors could affect this,” says U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist Peter Caldwell. “Water withdrawals could be one of the most important.” Water withdrawn from rivers may eventually flow out of kitchen faucets. Many municipalities get drinking water from rivers and…  More 

Climate Influences Male-Female Balance in Longleaf Pines

For many reptile and fish species, temperature during egg incubation determines whether hatchlings are male or female. In the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered that 99 percent of immature green turtles hatched in warming sands are female, raising concerns about successful reproduction in the future. U.S. Forest Service scientists have…  More 

Daily Precipitation Patterns Are Changing at Coweeta

Since 1950, heavy rains have become more common in the southern Appalachians. U.S. Forest Service researchers have witnessed such changes at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory. Coweeta was established in 1934. Its location in the mountains of western North Carolina is no accident – early Forest Service researchers strategically selected it. “Coweeta receives as much as 90…  More 

Conserving Eastern Hemlock

Where can you go to find an eastern hemlock tree? Although threatened by the hemlock woolly adelgid, eastern hemlock has an extensive range. “Eastern hemlock grows throughout the southern Appalachians,” says U.S. Forest Service collaborator and ecologist Kevin Potter. Potter is also a forestry faculty member at North Carolina State University. “Hemlock grows in the…  More 

Frogs, Toads, and Ephemeral Wetlands

When ephemeral wetlands swell with water, frogs and toads congregate to breed and lay their eggs,which hatch into tadpoles. “That’s risky business,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “Wetlands could dry before tadpoles metamorphose into juveniles.” If ephemeral wetlands dry out before the tadpoles develop lungs and become froglets or toadlets, an entire…  More