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 

Winter Prescribed Fire and Litter-Roosting Bats

Rather than hibernating in caves, some bat species in the southeastern U.S. get through the coldest parts of winter by roosting under fallen leaves, twigs, and other dead plant material on the forest floor. Although this leaf litter protects bats from the cold, it could also put them at risk of being injured or killed…  More 

The Guide to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems

Prescribed burning is FIRE “applied in a skillful manner, under exacting weather conditions, in a definite place, to achieve specific results.” Printed on the inside cover of the Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems, the sentence sets the tone for the revised guide developed by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists Tom…  More 

Regenerating Shortleaf Pine in the Southern Appalachians

On June 14th, at the annual meeting of the Southern Group of State Foresters, Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox and U.S. Forest Service Southern Region Deputy Regional Forester Ken Arney announced the release of a long-awaited five-year plan developed by the Shortleaf Pine Initiative to stem the rapid decline of regional short­leaf pine forests. Shortleaf…  More 

Changes in Forest Conditions Have Contributed to Pollinator Decline

Forests in North America have changed rapidly over the past century. Before European settlement, forests were a mosaic of open pine and hardwood forests, prairies, and woodland savannas. Recent studies have found that forests with sun-filled openings and those with open canopies —  where the branches from adjacent trees don’t touch or overlap — favor pollinators…  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 

Water Planning for the South in the New Fire Age

The ability to provide fresh drinking water is a critical ecosystem service of forests, and for many households in the southeastern United States, forests are the only source of municipal water supply. About 32 percent of the Southeast’s total annual water supply originates on state and private forest lands and another 3.4 percent on National Forest System…  More 

Fires, Fuels, and Longleaf Pine in the Western Gulf Region

On April 6, 2016, scientists from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) presented findings on prescribed fire, longleaf pine, and other topics during an all-day workshop titled “Louisiana Fire, Fuels, and Longleaf Pine Management: Lessons from the Kisatchie National Forest and the Palustris Experimental Forest.” Mary Anne S. Sayer, SRS research plant physiologist…  More 

The Future of Fire in the South

Fire is an integral part of the southern landscape. In the U.S., most of the focus is on the catastrophic fires that regularly sweep across the western states, but wildfires actually occur more frequently in the Southeast, where rapid vegetation growth and fuel accumulation combine with frequent ignitions from lightning and humans. The South leads the nation…  More