Bumblebees and Blueberries

Flowering plants and pollinators depend on each other. It’s a global truism, and it’s true on a 440 acre blueberry farm in northern Florida. “Bumblebees are extremely efficient pollinators,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Joseph O’Brien. “In the time it takes a honeybee to pollinate a single blueberry flower, a bumblebee can pollinate as…  More 

Longleaf Pine Silviculture

By best estimate, longleaf pine forests once spanned over 90 million acres – an area more than twice the size of Georgia. “Today, 97 percent of these forests are gone,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway. “However, the longleaf pine ecosystems that remain are home to a very diverse community of plants and…  More 

Selecting Trees to Grow in Cities

Sometimes in the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. City planners and urban foresters now have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare. The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently…  More 

The Chipola Experimental Forest

Located in the sandhills of the Florida Panhandle, the Chipola Experimental Forest (Chipola) was established in 1952 on privately owned land under a 99-year lease to the Southern Forest Experiment Station (now the Southern Research Station), International Paper Company, and Hardaway Contracting Company. The two companies requested the cooperative arrangement with the Forest Service to…  More 

How Healthy Are Your Pines?

Seventeen percent of the world’s industrial roundwood comes from U.S. forests – and southern pine forests are among the most productive in the country. Pine plantations in the South often anchor local and regional economies while providing ecosystem services such as clean water and air, and countless recreation benefits. “Forests are an integral part of…  More 

Water Planning for the South in the New Fire Age

The ability to provide fresh drinking water is a critical ecosystem service of forests, and for many households in the southeastern United States, forests are the only source of municipal water supply. About 32 percent of the Southeast’s total annual water supply originates on state and private forest lands and another 3.4 percent on National Forest System…  More 

Recovering from Laurel Wilt

Originally from Asia, the redbay ambrosia beetle and the fungus it carries in its jaws have found a new home in the southern United States. Eradication is impossible at this point, and the fungus causes laurel wilt, a highly destructive disease that affects redbay, swamp bay, sassafras, avocado, and pondberry – as well as every other…  More 

Under the Longleaf Pine Canopy

Longleaf pine forests once covered over 90 million acres of North America stretching from Texas to Florida to Virginia. However, logging, fire exclusion, and land use change caused the acreage of longleaf pine to shrink to about 2.5 million acres. “Longleaf pine forests are one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems in the southeastern United States,”…  More 

Ephemeral Wetlands and Climate Change: Implications for Frogs and Toads

Many frog and toad species live on land as adults, but their lives always begin in water. Depending on the species, dozens or hundreds of eggs, bound together into a gelatinous glob or string, are laid in a pond, puddle, or marsh. When frogs and toads spawn in waters inhabited by fish, many of the…  More 

Project Learning Tree Greenworks!

Project Learning Tree (PLT) recently awarded the Littlewood Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida, a GreenWorks! grant to develop an outdoor classroom that includes elements to attract and learn about birds. GreenWorks! is the service-learning component of PLT that provides grants to PLT-trained educators for students to implement environmental improvement projects. By blending community service with the academic…  More