Deadwood in Longleaf Pine Forests

Longleaf pine forests are important ecosystems for a broad array of wildlife and understory plant species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, the southeastern fox squirrel, and the venus fly trap. Over time, the forests have dwindled due to replacement by other land uses and the suppression of fires with which they evolved. Now, they are…  More 

Louisiana’s First Lady of Forestry

Caroline C. “Carrie” Dormon was shaped by her family’s influence and interest in nature. Today she is recognized as a woman who excelled in a male dominated world – as well as a pioneer conservationist, forester, botanist, illustrator, and native plant enthusiast. USDA Forest Service emeritus scientist James Barnett, along with Sarah Troncale, science teacher…  More 

New Book on Restoring Longleaf Pine Ecosystems

A definitive book about longleaf pine ecosystem restoration is now available. Experts from the USDA Forest Service, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, and many other organizations contributed to the book. Ecological Restoration and Management of Longleaf Pine Forests integrates ecology, hydrology, wildlife, and silviculture. Its seventeen chapters synthesize decades of research on longleaf pine…  More 

Climate Influences Male-Female Balance in Longleaf Pines

For many reptile and fish species, temperature during egg incubation determines whether hatchlings are male or female. In the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered that 99 percent of immature green turtles hatched in warming sands are female, raising concerns about successful reproduction in the future. U.S. Forest Service scientists have…  More 

The Many Dimensions of Tree Trunks

The taller a tree grows, the wider its trunk becomes. “It’s a fundamental relationship,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway. Scientists use math to describe this height-diameter relationship. But one of the mathematical constants – a scaling exponent of 2/3 – is not always so constant, according to a recent study by Brockway…  More 

Reforesting a Stumpscape

By 1930, the golden age of lumbering was over. “In about 25 years, millions of acres of old-growth forests had been harvested,” says U.S. Forest Service emeritus scientist James Barnett. “Land once covered with majestic stands of longleaf pines had become vast ‘stumpscapes.’” Cutover forests were bare, with little prospect of regeneration. Forests had been…  More 

Longleaf Pine Cone Prospects for 2017 and 2018

How many pine cones can managers expect from their longleaf pine forests? Every year, U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway attempts to answer this question. His most recent report suggests that 2017 will be a good year for longleaf pine cone production. “Across the region, we expect longleaf pines to produce an average of…  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 

Where’s the Carbon?

Carbon is the foundational element of life, and trees use atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow. “Trees can partially offset carbon dioxide emissions,” says U.S. Forest Service plant physiologist John Butnor. “Trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time.” Butnor and his colleagues studied carbon storage in longleaf pine…  More 

Longleaf Pine Silviculture

By best estimate, longleaf pine forests once spanned over 90 million acres – an area more than twice the size of Georgia. “Today, 97 percent of these forests are gone,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Dale Brockway. “However, the longleaf pine ecosystems that remain are home to a very diverse community of plants and…  More