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 

Thinning and Burning: The Best Defense Against Southern Pine Beetle

A recent study by U.S. Forest Service and university researchers shows that thinning and prescribed fire can protect stands of southern pines on a landscape level from infestations by southern pine beetle. The results, published online in the Journal of Forestry, also provide first-time confirmation of the effectiveness of the treatments supported by the Southern Pine…  More 

Burning Caicos Pine Yards

This spring found U.S. Forest Service scientist Joe O’Brien helping to set a prescribed fire in the Turks and Caicos, a small Caribbean island chain that’s a British Overseas Territory. O’Brien, research ecologist with the Forest Service Southern Research Station Center for Forest Disturbance Science, was there to help save a unique rockland pine habitat from…  More 

Changing Forest Conditions and Pollinator Decline

“Forests in North America have changed rapidly during the past century,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Jim Hanula. 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…  More 

Fighting Earthworm Invasions with Fire

Consider the lowly earthworm, burrowing under your feet and eating old leaves. These activities may seem inconsequential, but they can actually create, change, or destroy habitat. “Earthworms can fundamentally change the soils they inhabit,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham. “They can have such significant effects that they’re often called ecosystem engineers.” The…  More