21st Century Fire Ecology in the South

U.S. Forest Service researchers are using an array of high technologies — high resolution infrared thermography, LiDAR, and photogrammetry — to reach a new level of understanding of the interactions among fuels, fire, and plant diversity that underlie the successful use of prescribed fire in longleaf pine ecosystems. The longleaf pine forests that once covered over 90 million acres…  More 

Life in a Treehouse: How Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bats Choose their Roosts

In the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, Rafinesque’s big-eared bats often roost in tree hollows throughout the year. “Bats spend a good portion of their lives in roosts,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb. “Roosts protect bats from predators, and are where bats interact socially, mate, and raise young.” Rafinesque’s big-eared bats are declining…  More 

Longleaf Pine at a 50-Year High in South Carolina

Efforts to restore longleaf pine forests in South Carolina are proving quite successful, according to data published by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit. Longleaf pine forests now occupy less than three percent of an original range estimated at around 92 million acres that once stretched across the coastal plains of…  More 

The Harrison Experimental Forest

Located in the lower Coastal Plain in southeastern Mississippi, the Harrison Experimental Forest (Harrison) was established on the Desoto National Forest in 1934. By that time, vast stands of southern pines, mostly longleaf pine, had been cut from the estimated 31 million acres that made up the southern Coastal Plain forest. Located just north of…  More 

Longleaf Pine Cone Prospects for 2015 and 2016

Dale Brockway, research ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), recently published his yearly summary of projected longleaf pine cone production for 2015 and 2016. The report shows that the Southeast can expect a poor longleaf pine cone crop in October 2015. “Our estimates show the 2015 crop averaging only 12.4 cones…  More 

The Future of the Francis Marion’s Coastal Forests

When Hurricane Hugo hit the coast of South Carolina in September of 1989, the Francis Marion National Forest (Francis Marion) suffered a devastating blow. Sixty percent of its pine trees sustained moderate or heavy damage, and its bottomland hardwood trees fared even worse: 43 percent were broken and 43 percent were uprooted. At that time,…  More 

Pro-B: A Practical Management Tool for Implementing Selection Silviculture

Pro-B, a method developed by U.S. Forest Service research, helps make uneven-aged management of longleaf pine and other forest types a practical and efficient option for landowners and managers. A field study by researchers showed that after less than three hours of training on the Pro-B (proportional basal area) method, managers were able to accurately…  More 

Headwaters to Estuaries: Advances in Watershed Science and Management

On March 2-5, 81 scientists, managers, and stakeholders met in North Charleston, South Carolina, to present and discuss the latest research on watershed science and management. U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station scientist Carl Trettin served as conference chair and host  for the 5th Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, which took a national…  More 

Sunlight to the Seagrasses

Just off Florida’s 8,000 miles of coastline and tidal areas, in shallow sunlit waters, over 2 million acres of seagrass meadows waft in the ocean currents. Besides providing food and habitat for manatees, sea turtles, shellfish, and other animals, seagrasses protect coasts from erosion and store vast quantities of carbon dioxide. “Seagrasses grow off the…  More 

Webinar on December 9th: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention

African American rural land ownership has declined significantly over the past 100 years, threatening critical family and community assets. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service, seeks to address this problem through the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program. A team…  More