Urban Forestry South Tests New Urban Forest Sustainability and Management Audit System

An audit system developed by the U.S. Forest Service can help urban forest programs benchmark their resources and program capacity, and provide direction for urban forest management programs and plans. Urban Forestry South, a science delivery center of the Forest Service Southern Research Station Integrating Human and Natural Systems unit, recently beta tested their new…  More 

Fighting Earthworm Invasions with Fire

Consider the lowly earthworm, burrowing under your feet and eating old leaves. These activities may seem inconsequential, but they can actually create, change, or destroy habitat. “Earthworms can fundamentally change the soils they inhabit,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham. “They can have such significant effects that they’re often called ecosystem engineers.” The…  More 

Good News for Eradicating Cogongrass in the South

Over the past decade, U.S. Forest Service researchers have been working with university cooperators to find some way to slow down or stop the relentless spread of cogongrass. This last fall, Auburn University researchers reported results that demonstrate, for the first time, that patches of cogongrass can be eliminated completely within three years — showing…  More 

Crash and Burn: How Tornado Damage Affects Fire Behavior

Tornadoes and fires are powerful natural disturbances that can kill trees and cause long lasting changes in community composition. “However, most disturbances are neither rare nor catastrophic,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Joseph O’Brien. “There is a continuum of disturbance severity in most ecosystems, although the interactions among these disturbances haven’t received much study.” One…  More 

Scull Shoals Experimental Forest

  The 4,500-acre Scull Shoals Experimental Forest (Scull Shoals) near Athens, Georgia, has served as the site of silvicultural research studies since the 1930s. In 1959, when the experimental forest was officially designated part of the Oconee National Forest, researchers started studies on the role of fire in silviculture, the development of wildlife habitat, and…  More 

Environmental Education on the National Forest in Georgia

In 2010, the Obama Administration launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to conserve public lands and promote outdoor recreation. It also encourages community-based recreation programs to engage people where they live, learn, and play. Along similar lines, the U.S. Forest Service has a Kids in the Woods program to support youth nature programs. Recently the…  More 

Interrrupting an Invasional Meltdown

Earthworms have been described as “ecosystem engineers” because they can transform soil environments in ways – physical, chemical, and biological – that in turn lead to aboveground ecological changes. Most of the 8,000 species of the world’s earthworms stay in areas where they evolved, some occupying very narrow niches, but about 120 “cosmopolitan” or “peregrine”…  More 

With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a…  More 

SRS Hosts 10th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, June 22-27

This week, from June 22 to 27, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Center for Forest Disturbance Science (CFDS) is hosting the 10th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology (ISEE) in Athens, Georgia. This is only the second time the symposium, which is held every four years, has met in the United States. More than…  More 

Hot Time in the City

In Georgia, U.S. Forest Service scientists and cooperators are mapping out climate change vulnerability at the county level. Their results suggest that people who live in metro Atlanta are at most risk of disruptions from the rising temperatures and extreme weather events of recent decades — and that this vulnerability could persist well into the future. Cassandra…  More