Coastal Plain Fish Diversity and Introduced Small Wood

Coastal plain streams don’t always have swirling eddies or meandering bends. “They can look more like drainage ditches than natural streams,” says USDA Forest Service technician Ken Sterling. Agriculture, flood abatement, and residential development have all contributed to stream straightening in this region. The result? Streams incise and downcut, like a canyon. “These streams are…  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 

Vernal Crayfish Life History and Habitat Use

What to call a freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster? USDA Forest Service scientist Zanethia Barnett has a clever answer: “I study crayfish, but I eat crawfish.” More than half of the nation’s 357 species of crayfish — also known as crawdads, mudbugs, or yabbies — can be found in the Southeast. Crayfish break…  More 

Rediscovering the Yalobusha Rivulet Crayfish

In 1989, Joseph Fitzpatrick discovered the Yalobusha rivulet crayfish (Hobbseus yalobushensis). After the species description was published, silence reigned. For the next 29 years, no studies focused on the species. “That’s not uncommon,” says USDA Forest Service aquatic ecologist Susan Adams. “We know very little about the ecology and life history of many crayfish species.”…  More 

Bottomland Hardwood Restoration – What Happens Belowground?

If something looks like a forest, does it act like a forest? U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham, along with several colleagues, asked that question about bottomland hardwoods in west-central Mississippi. “Back in the late 1960s, there was a soybean boom, and a lot of bottomland forests were cleared for farming,” says Callaham. However,…  More 

Farm Ponds Conserve Groundwater in MS

Below the earth’s surface, below the slow-moving creeks and placid bayous, aquifers store immense quantities of water. “In Mississippi, 90 percent of drinking water comes from groundwater,” says U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist Ying Ouyang. “Aquifers also provide water to farmers.” Over the past 50 years, groundwater levels in the Mississippi Delta have declined by…  More 

State Line Meeting with Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

On August 17 and 18, state foresters from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, along with their staffs and personnel from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), gathered in Biloxi, MS. This was the third State Line Meeting for state foresters Wade Dubea of Louisiana and Charlie Morgan of Mississippi, and the first for Alabama State…  More 

Pondberry Seeks Sunlight

Pondberry is rare and endangered, but don’t underestimate the species. “Pondberry tolerates flooded soil,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Brian Roy Lockhart. “It also tolerates living in heavy shade. It has a plasticity to light that gives managers a lot of options for improving its growth and vigor.” Pondberry occurs in several southeastern states,…  More 

Generalist No More

Although the Yazoo Darter (Etheostoma raneyi) was previously thought to be a habitat generalist able to thrive in a variety of conditions, U.S. Forest Service scientists Kenneth Sterling and Melvin Warren guessed differently. “Literature suggested the darter was a generalist, but details at small spatial scales were lacking for its sand-bottom stream habitat in the…  More 

Giant Stag Beetles

Up to 30 percent of all forest insect species depend on wood that is dead or dying. “Such species are among the most threatened insects in Europe,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen. “However, very little is known about their diversity or conservation status in North America.” In the U.S., the giant stag beetle…  More