Here Today or Here to Stay?

Some disturbances come and go, leaving forests no worse for the wear. Hailstorms, insect defoliations, and light prescribed fires, for example, commonly occur early in the growing season, but, because of the timing and nature of these disturbances, trees and other vegetation may quickly regrow leaves after the damage is done. In such cases, even…  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 

Creating Young Forests to Benefit Wildlife

There’s a tendency to think of the hardwood forests of the South as pristine, undisturbed, and unchanging. But forests are constantly changing, which is a good thing for disturbance-dependent species that require open structural conditions created immediately after forest disturbances or at some point early in the process of recovery. Historically and still today, windstorms,…  More 

Chemical Clues to a Forest’s Past in Nitrogen Isotope Ratios

From the depths of the soil to the top of the atmosphere, nitrogen is everywhere. It is also indispensable to plants and animals. The vast majority of nitrogen atoms contain the same number of uncharged particles. However, a few atoms are ‘stable’ isotopes that have one extra uncharged particle. Although the extra particle adds a miniscule…  More 

Managing for Natural Disturbances in Central Hardwood Forests

A new book edited by U.S. Forest Service researcher Katie Greenberg and Western Carolina University professor Beverly Collins offers detailed science-based information about the history of natural disturbances in the Central Hardwood Region of the U.S., and provides insight for managers and ecologists on managing the area’s forests. Published by Springer, Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of…  More 

Restoring Forests, Part 2

Across the world, an estimated 1 billion acres of forests are in need of restoration, a formidable challenge that will only intensify under continued climate change. Where to start in restoring the world’s forests? What methods are appropriate? Restoring forests, already a complex process, is further complicated—and sometimes stymied—by a basic lack of consensus on…  More 

Restoring Forests, Part 1

Across the world, an estimated 1 billion acres of forests are in need of restoration right now, a formidable challenge that will only intensify under continued climate change. Where to start in restoring the world’s forests? What methods are appropriate? Restoring forests, already a complex process, is further complicated—and sometimes stymied—by a basic lack of…  More 

Trees on the Move: Blackgum Migrates North

As the climate warms, animals and plants alike are expected to migrate northward. Forest trees that cannot disperse their seeds over long distances may not be able to keep up with the changes in climate, but some trees such as blackgum have a ready means of migration. In lieu of feet, blackgum migrates by wing:…  More 

ForWarn Chosen for National Climate Resilience Toolkit Launched for White House

ForWarn, the satellite-based forest disturbance monitoring system developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Threat Assessment Centers was selected as one of the “top 25” tools included in the  U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit  launched on November 17th for the White House by an interagency team that included members from the Forest…  More 

The Role of Humans in U.S. Plant Invasions

Plant breeders have produced hybrids for centuries, maybe even millennia, crossing genetically different varieties or species to accentuate desired traits. Plants continuously hybridize on their own, either within populations of their own species or across species, families, and even genera. As exotic introduced plants began aggressively spreading into areas where they weren’t wanted, plant biologists…  More