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 

Florida’s New Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Geodatabase

A U.S. Forest Service competitive resource allocation grant helped fund a cooperative project between and the Florida Forest Service and the Florida Natural Areas Inventory. The Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Geodatabase (LPEGDB) project will serve as the central repository for data on the distribution and ecological condition of longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida. The spatial database…  More 

Sunlight to the Seagrasses

Just off Florida’s 8,000 miles of coastline and tidal areas, in shallow sunlit waters, over 2 million acres of seagrass meadows waft in the ocean currents. Besides providing food and habitat for manatees, sea turtles, shellfish, and other animals, seagrasses protect coasts from erosion and store vast quantities of carbon dioxide. “Seagrasses grow off the…  More 

The Olustee Experimental Forest

The 3,135-acre Olustee Experimental Forest (Olustee), located in northeast Florida was established in 1931. Part of the Osceola National Forest, the experimental forest served as the primary study site for a number of U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) units for almost 60 years. In the beginning, research on the Olustee focused mostly on…  More 

Young Scientists Find Nature in their Own Backyards

“That’s a tufted titmouse,” says one of Sara Charbonnet’s students, looking through his binoculars at one of the bird-feeding stations in Loblolly Woods Nature Park in Gainesville, Florida. In the classroom, the sixth-grader has trouble staying focused, but that all changes when he is outside. “He considers himself a scientist now. Some of the kids…  More 

Moving Harper’s Beauty Off Road

The first week of March found a team of plant biologists down on their knees in a highway right-of-way in the Florida Panhandle, searching for Harper’s beauty, one of Florida’s rarest native plants. A perennial lily with a solitary yellow flower and iris-like leaves, Harper’s beauty (Harperocallis flava) is listed as federally endangered and found…  More