Seminole Bats on the Move

Over the past 48 years, Seminole bats (Lasiurus seminolus) have drastically expanded their range. “The northern edge of their summer range has expanded by 323 miles,” says Roger Perry, a USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. “That’s approximately 7 miles a year since 1970.” The western range is also expanding, possibly because forests are replacing…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Protecting Hardwood Resources

Trees provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and beauty. Trees are also vital to local economies. “In 2015, Kentucky had 193 hardwood sawmills,” says USDA Forest Service research forester Tom Brandeis. “That same year, Tennessee had 226 hardwood sawmills.” Each state produced more than 700 million board feet of hardwood lumber in 2015. Higher…  More 

The Cold Hill Silvicultural Assessment

Upland hardwood forests mature slowly – it can take as long as a century. It can also take years to answer research questions about these forests, which are often dominated by oaks and hickories. In 2003, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), Northern Research Station, and Southern Region (Region 8) of the National…  More 

Fire Frequency & Hardwood Regeneration

The mighty oak is a critical component of southern forests—for wildlife habitat, acorn production, and hardwood timber—but forests are changing, and its future is uncertain. A long-running U.S. Forest Service experiment studied the use of prescribed fire to control competition from shade-tolerant tree species like red maple, American beech, and blackgum. The study area, located on…  More 

Creating Oak Woodlands

Oak woodlands are typically made up of large, widely spaced trees. Flowering plants, grasses, and other herbaceous species flourish in the understory. “Many public lands managers want to create woodland habitats,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “They provide numerous ecological benefits.” The historical extent of oak woodlands in southeastern forests is relatively…  More 

Freshwater Mussels in Kentucky

Kentucky, with its diverse natural environment, supports at least 100 native freshwater mussel species and subspecies. This number represents one-third of North American mussel diversity, and Kentucky, along with other southeastern states, supports the most diverse mussel fauna of any region on Earth. Unfortunately, this fauna is greatly diminished by human activities: about 12 mussel…  More 

Freshwater Mussels Play a Part in Restoring Their Own Habitat

In Kentucky, the U.S. Forest Service and state partners are on a mission to find out why streams such as Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Cumberland River basin, are no longer able to support freshwater mussels – and they’re using the mussels themselves to solve the mystery. North America is home to the…  More 

Forest Health Research and Education Center Shares $3 Million NSF Grant

The Forest Health Research and Education Center (Forest Health Center), a collaborative project among the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Division of Forestry, will share a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation with researchers from Washington State University (serving as lead), the University of Tennessee,…  More 

Fishing for Clues to Mussel Decline in Horse Lick Creek

How do U.S. Forest Service research scientists take their experiments from the laboratory to the field? For a first-hand look at the field sampling and data collection, collaboration with Forest Service and university partners, and extensive planning that happens behind the scenes, I spent a day with the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Center for…  More