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 

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