Annual Forest Health Checkup

Insects, diseases, droughts, and fire threaten forests. Each year, the U.S. Forest Service assesses threats facing the nation’s forests. Forest managers, scientists, and decision-makers rely on the annual reports. SRS recently published the 2016 Forest Health Monitoring report. The report is the 16th in the annual series, and is sponsored by the FS Forest Health…  More 

Black Locust & Drought Tolerance

By affecting plant growth, drought could potentially affect the nitrogen cycle too. “Some plants – with help from their bacterial companions – can fix atmospheric nitrogen,” says U.S. Forest Service researcher and project leader Chelcy Miniat. Atmospheric nitrogen gas, or N2, is plentiful. This form of nitrogen is inaccessible to most plants. However, legumes such…  More 

Topography and Drought

The planet is changing, and the hydrologic cycle will change along with it. Extreme droughts – as well as extremely wet weather – are expected to become more frequent and more intense. “These changes may interact with topography to affect species composition in unexpected ways,” says Chelcy Miniat. Miniat is a researcher and project leader…  More 

Oaks, an Unrecognized Ally in Longleaf Pine Restoration

Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the most threatened in the U.S., and managers across the southeast are prioritizing longleaf restoration. The conventional approach calls for removing hardwood trees such as oak. “Hardwood reduction techniques are commonly deemed necessary for ecological restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Louise Loudermilk. “Hardwoods are…  More 

Drought Assessment Wins Chief’s Award

On Thursday, December 8, Jim Vose, project leader of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Center for Integrated Forest Science, was in Washington, DC, to accept a Chief’s Award – one of the highest honors in the Forest Service — in the category of “Sustaining Forests and Grasslands.” Vose accepted as leader of a team…  More 

Drought, Fire, and Forests

A special report published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on November 20 noted that forest fires have now burned more than 119,000 acres in eight states across the Southeast. Though no lives have been lost in the fires, the smoke has sent hundreds of people from Asheville to Atlanta to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with…  More 

Forests, Water, Climate, and Management

Across the globe, forests cover about a quarter of all land and are important sources of clean water. A new book, edited by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist Devendra Amatya, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate, and management. The book, Forest Hydrology: Processes, Management and Assessment, was recently published by the…  More 

Dry Air May Be More Stressful to Trees than Dry Soil

Scientists forecast that for many parts of the U.S., climate change will bring higher temperatures and more frequent and severe periods of drought. In parts of the West, forests are already changing as a result of drought, but all U.S. forests may be impacted, in turn affecting other important resources such as clean air and…  More 

Annual Report Keeps a Finger on the Pulse of U.S. Forest Health

Everyone can understand the importance of a yearly checkup for monitoring one’s general health and wellbeing. Regular “checkups” are also necessary to gauge the overall health and monitoring needs of U.S. forests, so managers, scientists, and decision makers look to the U.S. Forest Service’s annual Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) national report to gain insights into…  More 

Watersheds of the Future Could Mirror a Variable Climate

With some exceptions, precipitation, water yield from forests, and forest growth and productivity generally increase from west to east across the United States. Shifts in temperature and precipitation associated with climate change may not necessarily alter these general west-to-east trends, but U.S. Forest Service and university researchers do anticipate great variability in how watersheds respond…  More