Family Forests Are the Ties That Bind the Landscape

Family forests have an enormous capacity to provide ecosystem services such as clean air and water, timber and nontimber forest products, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty and recreation — benefits that stretch far beyond property lines. According to USDA Forest Service research, sustaining these services depends on not only the condition of individual family forests…  More 

Invasive Plants Follow Land Abandonment after Hurricane Katrina

The lot is overgrown, crowded with unruly shrubs, vines, and waist-high weeds. It is littered with old tires and garbage and is now home to a rusted Toyota Tercel. The air is heavy and buzzing with mosquitoes. This is the Lower 9th Ward, where U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer studied the vegetation on…  More 

Sabbaticals Bring Exciting Innovations to Forest Research

Three U.S. Forest Service scientists will be expanding on current research — or focusing on new or emerging research — as recipients of the SRS sabbatical program. The sabbaticals will give these researchers the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from around the world. “The sabbatical will afford each of the scientists an opportunity to be…  More 

Managing Forests for Water: Challenges in the Anthropocene

Humans are enmeshed in an ancient and intricate relationship between forests and water, and as the impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, the relationship will become increasingly important. A special issue of the journal Forests, titled Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate change,…  More 

Science Partners Launch “Ecosystem Benefits and Risks” Website

The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and the U.S. Forest Service are releasing products from the first phase of an ongoing study assessing benefits of and risks to the region’s “ecosystem services” — natural assets valued by people, such as clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, forest products, and biological conservation. A wealth of data, maps, and…  More 

Austin’s Urban Forest

In late February, the U.S. Forest Service published its first urban forest assessment for Austin, Texas. Using Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, Austin’s Urban Forest 2014 provides details on the composition and health of the city’s urban forest and the benefits it provides. According to the report, Austin’s trees provide almost $34…  More 

The Emerging Role of Ecosystem Services in Preventive Medicine

There’s growing evidence that spending time in forests, gardens, or parks may improve physical and mental health. Many environmental scientists have embraced the concept of ecosystem services as a framework for understanding how nature contributes to human well-being. However, the term is still unfamiliar to some professionals outside the environmental field. In collaboration with Claire…  More 

Harvesting Southern Pines for Bioenergy: Potential Impacts on Soil

Soils are the foundation of the forested ecosystem, producing timber and clean water while supporting biodiversity and storing carbon. A new study led by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist D. Andrew Scott examines how harvesting for bioenergy affects soil ecosystem services in loblolly pine plantations. Many southern pine stands are being harvested…  More 

Forest Service Research Stations Host Forest Soils Conference

The 12th North American Forest Soils Conference (NAFSC) hosted by USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain and Southern Research Stations (RMRS and SRS) was held in Whitefish, Montana, June 16 to 20, 2013. Jennifer Knoepp (SRS) and Deb Page-Dumroese (RMRS) co-chaired the meeting, with the theme “The Role of Forest Soils in Sustaining Ecosystem Services.”  Session…  More 

Fragmented Forests

The Southern Forest Resource Assessment published by the Southern Research Station defined forest fragmentation as the breaking up of large, contiguous (touching one another) forested tracts into smaller or less contiguous tracts. This means that forests become islands or peninsulas — patches of woods disconnected from one another by roads, farms, suburbs, cities, and other…  More