Pondberry needs light to thrive

  Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) can tolerate deep shade and flooded soil – conditions that would kill many plants. However, the endangered shrub prefers more light and less flooding, as a team of USDA Forest Service researchers led by Ted Leininger shows. Leininger and colleagues have conducted several pondberry studies at the Flooding Research Facility on…  More 

Purified clay needed!

Chase Earles, an award-winning Oklahoma potter, needed clay. The clay could not come from Winterville Mounds but needed to come from somewhere in Washington County, Mississippi. Winterville Mounds is a massive and pivotally important Pre-Columbian Native American site located in Washington County. Clay could not be dug from the mounds, as they are an archaeological…  More 

Handbook for 30-year-old bottomland oak stands

Southern floodplain forest landowners can benefit from a new USDA Forest Service handbook of silvicultural practices for oaks planted on former croplands. The practical volume outlines the methods – and supporting science – for managing stands to produce high-quality oak sawtimber, improve wildlife habitat through acorn production, or an integrated approach for both timber and…  More 

Prescribed Fire Effects on Soil Fertility

USDA Forest Service researcher John Butnor wondered how dormant-season prescribed fire affects forest soil fertility in the months after a burn. Do nutrients from burned pine straw, grasses, and woody debris remain in the forest? Others have studied soil a year or more after a prescribed burn. Butnor’s research compares soil chemistry before burning and…  More 

Water Supply from Southern State and Private Forest Lands

Forests provide the most stable and highest quality water supplies among all land uses. A report by the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service quantifies the role of state and private forest lands (SPF) in providing drinking water supply across the southern United States. About half of the South’s land area is forested,…  More 

Two New Species of Crayfish Discovered in Alabama and Mississippi

In 2011, a group of researchers traveled to southern Alabama and Mississippi in search of the Rusty Gravedigger crayfish (Lacunicambarus miltus). They wanted to refine the species’ range and hoped to find a new population west of Mobile Bay. Instead, they found a potentially undescribed species of crayfish. Years later, a team led by Mael…  More 

Digging Deep for Crayfish Clues

Kneeling in a wet prairie, arm extended to the armpit in a muddy hole, most biologists would quickly arrive at the thought, “There’s got to be a better way.” So it’s not surprising that, when it comes to sampling for burrowing crayfishes, researchers have devised some creative solutions. In the southeastern U.S. – the global…  More 

Pondberry Responds to Light Availability and Soil Flooding

Pondberry is endangered, but it can persist through environmental stress. It prefers partial sun but can linger in deep shade for years. It can survive long periods of soil flooding, and even flowers while it’s flooded. “All indications are that this species would benefit from active management,” says Emile Gardiner, a USDA Forest Service research…  More 

Ying Ouyang Receives Soil Science Society of America’s Highest Honor

Research hydrologist Ying Ouyang was recently named a 2019 Fellow by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), the highest recognition bestowed by the organization. The SSSA is an international scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing the field of soil science to sustain global soils. Each year, members nominate colleagues based on their professional…  More 

Research for Mississippi and Beyond

Water defines the Mississippi Delta, an alluvial plain in northwest Mississippi. The Delta is sandwiched between the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers, and a network of levees and pumps aim to keep the land dry enough for habitation and agriculture. In 2019, however, historic flooding left fields inundated for months. USDA Forest Service scientists have served…  More