New Resource on Invasive Species

Eastern hemlock, American chestnut, sassafras, redbay, every member of the ash family, and many others are plagued by non-native invasive species. A new book synthesizes current science on species invading U.S. forests, grasslands, and waterways. The book was published by Springer, and the entire book is available to download. The book covers invasive species of…  More 

Top Ten of 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, it is a good time to gather our most-read CompassLive stories from the past year. Each one highlights the work of USDA Forest Service scientists at the Southern Research Station. We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which includes the most popular of 2020 plus a few more that…  More 

A Yearly Health Checkup for U.S. Forests

Every year, the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks changing forest conditions, including national assessments as well as focused regional analysis. The resulting report is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. Forests constantly change as a result of tree growth and mortality, weather events and climate…  More 

E-Noses Detect Emerald Ash Borer Larvae

Electronic noses are sensitive to a vast suite of volatile organic compounds that every living organism emits. A new USDA Forest Service study shows that e-noses can detect emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) larvae lurking under the bark – an early, noninvasive detection method. “The results were quite spectacular,” says Dan Wilson, a research plant…  More 

Assessing the Health of U.S. Forests

Forests are complex ecosystems. They are constantly changing as a result of tree growth, variations in weather and climate, and disturbances from fire, pathogens, and other stressors. The USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks these ongoing changes — every year, across the nation — as a forest health check up. The 2018…  More 

How Tree Diversity Affects Invasive Forest Pests

“Invasive insects and diseases pose both ecological and economic threats to our forest ecosystems,” says Qinfeng Guo, USDA Forest Service research ecologist. Guo is the lead author of a broad-scale study of U.S. forest data that examines the relationship between the number of native tree species and the number of nonnative forest pests. Across their…  More 

The State of the Nation’s Forests

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and…  More 

Emerald Ash Borer and its Enemy Wasps

Since emerald ash borer was first detected in Michigan in 2002, the non-native invasive beetle has killed tens of millions of ash trees across the U.S., and continues to infest new regions. Within its native range in Asia, emerald ash borer is attacked by a variety of predators including several species of parasitoid wasps that…  More 

The Status of Ash Species in Selected Southern States

A new Science Update  from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) provides the latest data on ash tree (Fraxinus spp.) species in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The emerald ash borer, an introduced Asian beetle species first detected in Michigan in 2002, has spread throughout the northeastern U.S. and into the southern states…  More 

Where Does That Infested Firewood Come From?

The spread of damaging invasive forest pests such as the emerald ash borer is only partially powered by the insects’ own wings. People moving firewood for camping can hasten and widen the spread of insects and resulting forest destruction. A new U.S. Forest Service study provides a tool for anticipating the most likely route of human-assisted spread, giving…  More