Bottomland Hardwood Restoration – What Happens Belowground?

If something looks like a forest, does it act like a forest? U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham, along with several colleagues, asked that question about bottomland hardwoods in west-central Mississippi. “Back in the late 1960s, there was a soybean boom, and a lot of bottomland forests were cleared for farming,” says Callaham. However,…  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 

Forests, Farms, or Houses?

Molecules relentlessly cycle from one form to another. “Simple human activities, such as building homes, can affect these cycles,” says U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist Jennifer Knoepp. For example, trees growing near streams affect the way nitrogen and other nutrients move from the land to the water. “Riparian zones play a critical role in…  More 

Into the Rhizosphere: Soil Fungi and Carbon Dynamics

Underneath the Earth’s surface, water, nutrients, and chemical signals are shuttled through a sprawling network between tree roots and soil fungi. “Many forest trees depend on their associated soil fungi for nutrients, as the fungi are better at absorbing nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients,” says U.S. Forest Service ecologist Melanie Taylor. “The trees return the…  More 

Turning Trees into Bioenergy: What are the Effects on Soil?

Timber has been harvested for hundreds of years, but current bioenergy operations use more parts of a tree than ever before; small branches that used to be considered non-merchantable are now often harvested instead of left rotting on the forest floor. “The increased use of small branches and formerly non-merchantable wood has been linked to changes in…  More 

Jennifer Knoepp Named Soil Science Society of America Fellow

U.S. Forest Service scientist Jennifer Knoepp was recently selected as a Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Fellow for 2014.  Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by SSSA, an international scientific society whose more than 6,000 members are dedicated to advancing the field of soil science and fostering the transfer of knowledge and practices to…  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