21st Century Fire Ecology in the South

U.S. Forest Service researchers are using an array of high technologies — high resolution infrared thermography, LiDAR, and photogrammetry — to reach a new level of understanding of the interactions among fuels, fire, and plant diversity that underlie the successful use of prescribed fire in longleaf pine ecosystems. The longleaf pine forests that once covered over 90 million acres…  More 

In the Southeast, Who’s in the Path of Smoke Plumes?

For more than 30 years, researchers have known that poor communities and people of color in the U.S. are more likely to be affected by environmental threats such as landfills and toxic waste sites. “Are these socially vulnerable communities also exposed to more smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires?” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Cassandra…  More 

Under the Longleaf Pine Canopy

Longleaf pine forests once covered over 90 million acres of North America stretching from Texas to Florida to Virginia. However, logging, fire exclusion, and land use change caused the acreage of longleaf pine to shrink to about 2.5 million acres. “Longleaf pine forests are one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems in the southeastern United States,”…  More 

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 Waldrop…  More 

Oct. 20 – 22, Fire History in the Appalachians Workshop

Register now: “Fire History in the Appalachians Workshop and Central Appalachians FLN Workshop” Fire has shaped the ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountains for millennia, and an area’s fire history can guide land managers who use prescribed fire for ecosystem restoration or reducing hazardous fuels. On October 20-22, the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists…  More 

Fire History in the Appalachians, October 20-22

Register now: “Fire History in the Appalachians Workshop and Central Appalachians FLN Workshop” Fire has shaped the ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountains for millennia, and an area’s fire history can guide land managers who use prescribed fire for ecosystem restoration or reducing hazardous fuels. On October 20-22, the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists…  More 

Shortleaf Pine: The Future Requires Fire

Shortleaf and loblolly pine are closely related and have always hybridized occasionally. “However, hybrids are now so common that they may threaten shortleaf pine’s existence as a genetically distinct species,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Dana Nelson. “Our study is the first to show that fire helps maintain genetic distinctions between shortleaf and loblolly pine.”…  More 

Restoring Shortleaf Pine in the Southern Appalachians

On July 29-30, the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists (CAFMS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) hosted a workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, to discuss threats, barriers, and successes in relation to the restoration of shortleaf pine in the southern Appalachians. Over 80 participants from national forests and parks, state agencies, and nongovernmental organizations from…  More 

Burning the Leafy Blanket: 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 

There’s More to Restoration Than Planting Trees

Discussions about longleaf pine restoration tend to focus on planting seedlings, managing hardwood competition, and using prescribed fire, but ecosystem restoration also involves bringing back the groundcover that makes longleaf pine forests some of the richest plant communities on our planet. “The groundcover layer of the longleaf pine forest is truly extraordinary,” says Joan Walker, research plant ecologist with…  More