When Does Biodiversity Make a Difference?

Biodiversity can be like a forest’s insurance policy. The more and varied the tree species that live there, the better the chance that the forest can remain healthy, stable, and resilient through times of disturbance. But as climate change prompts new forest management approaches intended to maximize growth and productivity for carbon storage, bioenergy, and…  More 

The Invasion of Southern Forests by Nonnative Plants

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examines a variety of…  More 

With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a…  More 

Young Forests Can Benefit Wildlife

It’s easy to think of forests as peaceful, unchanging places. In reality, this isn’t the case, because forests are much more dynamic than they may seem. In fact, forests are shaped by change, and many forest ecosystems depend upon it. In the aftermath of a major change or disturbance like wildfire or human clearing of…  More 

Could Increasing Climate Variability Usher In “The Age of the Mediocre Forest?”

In 2001, when large numbers of red spruce trees began dying atop Mt. Mitchell in western North Carolina, U.S Forest Service researchers stepped in to investigate. During the four years before the researchers’ arrival, unusual drought and abnormally high air temperatures combined with acid rain pollution and a rare outbreak of southern pine beetles to…  More 

Symposium Update: Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of Variation

Over 60 land managers, scientists, students, and professors attended a recent symposium on natural disturbances and historic range of variation. The symposium was held at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and organized by Cathryn Greenberg, project leader of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management unit,…  More 

Researchers Track “Gray Ghosts” Across the Southern Appalachians

People living in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States have long enjoyed a rich culture of storytelling. Often rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, stories from Appalachian folklore serve to entertain as well as to educate; sometimes, important life lessons emerge, especially from tales of demise. A present-day ghost story…  More 

Remembering Bill Boyer, Mr. Longleaf

Dr. William D. (Bill) Boyer, known to many as “Mr. Longleaf,” died on April 13th after a long illness. Boyer’s early research on and advocacy for the Escambia Experimental Forest, his enthusiasm and commitment to long-term studies on establishing longleaf pine, and his leadership in promoting the use of prescribed fire to promote longleaf pine…  More 

Climate Change and United States Forests

Climate Change and United States Forests, a newly published book edited by U.S. Forest Service scientists Jim Vose (Southern Research Station), David Peterson (Pacific Northwest Research Station), and Toral Patel-Weynand (Washington Office), provides resource managers, researchers, and the interested public with a comprehensive science-based assessment of the effects of climate change and variability on U.S.…  More 

April 3rd Symposium: Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of Variation

  Register now: Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of Variation in Central Hardwood Forests Natural disturbances such as fire, wind, and insect pests shape forest structure, composition, and function. Identifying the historic range of variation in natural disturbances offers insight into historic forest conditions and guidance for future management strategies.  Scientists from the U.S. Forest Service…  More