Promoting Forest Health in Kentucky

Most bourbon whiskey is made in Kentucky, and federal law requires all bourbon to be aged in white oak barrels. USDA Forest Service researchers and partners are teaming up to advance the sustainability and restoration of white oak resources across the South. This research, along with forest health research on the American chestnut and other…  More 

Study Supports Single Introduction of Laurel Wilt Pathogen in the U.S.

Laurel wilt has devastated plants in the Lauraceae family – redbay, sassafras, pondberry, avocado, and others – since it was first detected in the southeastern U.S. around 2002. The disease is caused by the pathogen Raffaelea lauricola and carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle – and by humans moving infested wood. There is no widespread,…  More 

The Climate Is Changing—What’s a Silviculturist To Do?

Climate change is here. In southern forests, it takes the form of novel disturbances – different frequency and severity of drought, fire, wind storms, insect outbreaks, even ice storms – or a combination of these stressors. “How will managers respond to the threats posed by changing climate conditions?” asks USDA Forest Service scientist James Guldin.…  More 

Trees in Protected Areas

Conservation goals range anywhere from aesthetics to survival. Among the most important of those is ensuring that an ecosystem is resilient to disturbances and provides as many different functions as possible. According to an assessment by a USDA Forest Service cooperating researcher, those qualities can be quantified using two metrics: rarity and evolutionary distinctiveness. Rarity…  More 

Saving the Torreya

A century ago, about half a million torreya trees grew in the wild. Today, there are fewer than 1,000. Is extinction imminent, or can the species be saved? “I’m more optimistic now, after the Torreya Tree of Life Workshop,” says USDA Forest Service geneticist Dana Nelson. “The workshop brought a large group of enthusiastic people…  More 

Conserving Eastern Hemlock

Where can you go to find an eastern hemlock tree? Although threatened by the hemlock woolly adelgid, eastern hemlock has an extensive range. “Eastern hemlock grows throughout the southern Appalachians,” says U.S. Forest Service collaborator and ecologist Kevin Potter. Potter is also a forestry faculty member at North Carolina State University. “Hemlock grows in the…  More 

Giant Stag Beetles

Up to 30 percent of all forest insect species depend on wood that is dead or dying. “Such species are among the most threatened insects in Europe,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen. “However, very little is known about their diversity or conservation status in North America.” In the U.S., the giant stag beetle…  More 

Hybrids in the Seed Orchards

Shortleaf pine is under siege, and one of the threats has emerged in seed orchards. “In some shortleaf seed orchards, 10 percent of trees are hybrids,” says U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Dana Nelson. “Although the majority we’d consider shortleaf pine, even a few hybrids is enough to raise concern.” To some extent, shortleaf and…  More 

Hemlock Seed Banking

Eastern and Carolina hemlock trees in more than 400 counties across 19 states are dead, dying, or threatened by infestation of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. As the aphid-like pest continues to spread throughout the ranges of these economically and ecologically important trees, scientists, managers, and other specialists from North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) Camcore…  More 

Shortleaf Pine: What’s in the Genes?

Despite shortleaf pine’s importance, relatively little is known about its genetics. “The lack of knowledge is especially apparent in this era of molecular genetics and genomics,” says U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Dana Nelson. Nelson and his colleagues recently reviewed shortleaf pine genetics, and their implications for restoration and management. The research team included Oklahoma…  More