Water Supply from Southern State and Private Forest Lands

Forests provide the most stable and highest quality water supplies among all land uses. A report by the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service quantifies the role of state and private forest lands (SPF) in providing drinking water supply across the southern United States. About half of the South’s land area is forested,…  More 

Wood-Boring Beetles Not the Primary Cause of Sugarberry Mortality

In the past decade, sugarberry trees (Celtis laevigata) have been rapidly declining throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Alongside University of Georgia researcher Emilee Poole, USDA Forest Service scientists Scott Horn, Michael Ulyshen, and others studied the distribution and biology of the wood-boring beetle Agrilus macer to determine its role in recent sugarberry mortality. Using sugarberry…  More 

Hurricane Michael Recovery Focus of State Line Meeting

In May, state foresters from Florida and Georgia, along with their staffs, personnel from the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, the Apalachicola National Forest, and Tall Timbers gathered at the Wakulla Environmental Institute in Crawfordville, Florida for a State Line meeting. Participants discussed Hurricane Michael impacts, recovery, and challenges that the agencies are facing…  More 

Southern Timber Hit Hard by Hurricane

Hurricane Michael roared through Florida, Alabama, and Georgia on October 10 and delivered a hard hit to timberland owners and timber markets. John Alter and Elizabeth Alter manage more than 1,000 acres in Malone, Florida, including 18 Tree Farm stands. The Alters were honored as Florida’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 2015. “This is a true…  More 

Carbon Storage in Longleaf Pine Roots

“Longleaf roots are pretty legendary,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Peter Anderson. “It’s common to hear that you can dig up a really old stump and use it as a quick, reliable kindling.” Pines contain oleoresins, a sticky liquid mix of oil and resin (or rosin). “There are companies today that buy and dig old…  More 

Carolina Hemlock Populations: Isolated and Imperiled

Hemlocks are under attack. U.S. Forest Service scientists and their partners are working to save the native conifers from the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect from Japan. Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) trees can survive HWA infestation for a decade or more but often die within four years. Carolina hemlocks grow in tiny, isolated…  More 

Mountain Roads and Erosion

Forests on mountaintops may seem remote. “However, millions of people rely on these forested headwater watersheds for their drinking water,” says Johnny Grace. “For many people in the Southeastern U.S., high-elevation forests are where clean drinking water originates.” Grace is a general engineer at the U.S. Forest Service, and he recently studied forest roads and…  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 

Restoration in the Understory

Some plants are homebodies and refuse to thrive in new areas. “Plants have unique abilities to thrive where they grow but moving plants outside their genetically adapted environment might cause them not to grow as well,” says Joan Walker, SRS research plant ecologist. The U.S. Forest Service, led by Walker, is partnering with federal and state…  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