Oak Regeneration and Acorn Size

Oak regeneration is an oft-discussed topic in forestry. The trees aren’t sustainably generating in many upland temperate forests due to a variety of factors — including the fact that they are less competitive than other, more sun-loving species such as tulip poplar. One way that forest managers are responding to this issue is artificial oak…  More 

Using Prescribed Fire to Restore and Sustain Oak Ecosystems

Used incorrectly, fire can degrade wood quality and its value as timber. When should managers use prescribed fire in hardwood stands? “I field a lot of questions from state and local partners about the long-term effects of using prescribed fire in hardwood stands,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Callie Schweitzer. Schweitzer has spent her career…  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 

The Cold Hill Silvicultural Assessment

Upland hardwood forests mature slowly – it can take as long as a century. It can also take years to answer research questions about these forests, which are often dominated by oaks and hickories. In 2003, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), Northern Research Station, and Southern Region (Region 8) of the National…  More 

Introducing Femelschlag

Visitors to the Cradle of Forestry (located near Brevard in Pisgah National Forest) learn about the Biltmore Forest School – the first school of forestry in North America. It was started in 1898 by Carl Schenck. A native of Germany, Schenck brought German forestry concepts to the United States. It is fitting that today in…  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 

Lizards or Salamanders?

The southern Appalachians are crawling with salamanders. In western North Carolina alone, more than 45 species can be found, and they are critical members of food webs – both as predators and as prey. Salamanders and other amphibians, as well as reptiles, can be affected by forest management practices. “However, amphibians and reptiles are ecologically,…  More 

Managing Southern Appalachian Hardwood Forests with Fire

Findings from a study led by a U.S. Forest Service scientist suggest that more frequent use of prescribed fire will be needed to reach common management objectives for the hardwood forests in the southern Appalachian region. The findings by Forest Service emeritus scientist Tom Waldrop and collaborators were published in a recent issue of the…  More 

Fire Research: A Hot Topic

For centuries landowners in the southern Appalachians have used fire as a tool to clear land, control insects, encourage forage, and eliminate unwanted vegetation. But little is known about how fire affects regeneration of oak or other hardwood trees, and how it can be used to meet specific management or restoration goals for upland hardwood…  More 

Oak Regeneration in Upland Hardwood Forests

Two-day workshop for managers In July, the Southern Research Station (SRS) Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research unit hosted a 2-day workshop on oak regeneration in upland hardwood forests at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest near Asheville, North Carolina. Over 35 private, state, and federal agency forest managers participated in lecture presentations, field trips and…  More