The Appalachian-Cumberland Highland: The Next 50 Years

Knowing more about how the future might unfold can improve decisions that are sure to have long-term consequences. The Southern Forest Futures Project, a multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Forest Service, aimed to forecast and interpret changes in southern forests under multiple scenarios over the next several decades. The project also included a suite…  More 

Climate and Society Will Determine the Future of Wildfire in the South

A new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators projects a four percent increase overall in acres burned by wildfire in the Southeast by 2060, but with substantial uncertainties and large variations by state and ecoregion, including a 34 percent increase in acres burned due to lightning-caused fires. The study, just published in the…  More 

Our Dry, Warm Future may Favor Oaks

Historically, many oak forests across the eastern U.S. experienced frequent low-intensity fires that promoted the establishment and growth of oaks. “However, fire and other disturbances have become less common,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist James Vose. “Red maple, tulip poplar, and other mesophytic, fire-sensitive, and shade-tolerant trees are increasing in many areas of the eastern…  More 

Landscape Ecology Meeting Draws Forest Service Scientists and Record Attendance

After more than a year of planning, local organizers from the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center were thrilled to finally welcome attendees of the annual meeting of the U.S. International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), held last month in Asheville, North Carolina. It was the 29th annual and the largest ever…  More 

The Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory

Much of what we know today about the hydrology of forested watersheds was learned through early research at the U.S. Forest Service Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (Coweeta). Established in 1933 as the Coweeta Experimental Forest, the laboratory represents the longest continuous environmental study on any landscape in North America, as well as one of the oldest…  More 

The Santee Experimental Forest

In 1934, the U.S. Forest Service allocated 6,100 acres (2,470 ha) of the Francis Marion National Forest (Francis Marion) near Charleston, South Carolina, for the Santee Experimental Forest (the Santee). By the 1930s, much of the site had been heavily used for centuries, the upland cleared to raise livestock and produce naval stores (tar, pitch, turpentine, and…  More 

Who Will Own Southern Forests in the Future?

Forest ownership in the South has changed substantially over the past decade, raising questions about future landowner objectives and approaches to forest management — and ultimately about the retention of forest lands. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the Southern Forest Futures…  More 

Helping African American Rural Landowners Keep Family Forests

After the Civil War, African Americans were deeded or bought property across the South, but at that time they often lacked the money for — or were denied access to — legal resources. As a result, much of this land was passed down through the generations without the benefit of a written will or title and…  More 

What’s Wilderness Worth?

In 1964, Congress protected areas where, according to the Wilderness Act, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Wilderness areas now cover approximately 5 percent of the United States – over 100 million acres. While the ecological and aesthetic value of…  More 

Worldwide Loss of Interior Forest

Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost forest area and gained forest area. But the losses exceeded the gains, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers and partners who compared tree cover data from those years and estimated a global net loss of 1.71 million square kilometers of forest — an area about two and a…  More