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 

Restoring the Forest Before Spongy Moths Invade

Keeping forests healthy is better than trying to restore them after droughts or insect outbreaks have already killed trees, but identifying future threats is sometimes a challenge. Not so in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the Cumberland Plateau area of Kentucky. Oaks dominate the area, but they are under stress and susceptible to decline, while invasive…  More 

Where’s the Ginseng?

Newly published research by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) demonstrates that co-managing eastern hardwood forests for timber and non-timber forest products could boost local economies while helping conserve biodiversity. SRS scientist Jim Chamberlain worked with Michael McGufffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and Virginia Tech associate professor Stephen Prisley…  More