Managing Drought in Forest Ecosystems

More wildfire. More insects and diseases. Less predictable timber supply. Less predictable water supply. Changing wildlife habitat. Severe drought can cause all of these impacts, and more. USDA Forest Service scientists and partners have created a new resource to help land managers anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from drought. “Maintaining healthy and diverse…  More 

Long-Term Research Yields Understanding and Insights

Gaze at a painting for long enough, and you may notice details that you didn’t see right away: light, movement, and texture. This happens with research data, too. “At Coweeta, we all talk about how everything fits together,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Jennifer Knoepp. “We have been analyzing long-term watershed data for more than…  More 

Trees in Protected Areas

Conservation goals range anywhere from aesthetics to survival. Among the most important of those is ensuring that an ecosystem is resilient to disturbances and provides as many different functions as possible. According to an assessment by a USDA Forest Service cooperating researcher, those qualities can be quantified using two metrics: rarity and evolutionary distinctiveness. Rarity…  More 

Climate Change Resource Center Delivers New Education Module

With so many challenges and options to consider, forest managers wondering, “What is the right way to respond to current and future climate change?” may need to reframe the question. “There is no single ‘right’ way to respond to climate change,” explains the narrator in a new U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC)…  More 

Could Increasing Climate Variability Usher In “The Age of the Mediocre Forest?”

In 2001, when large numbers of red spruce trees began dying atop Mt. Mitchell in western North Carolina, U.S Forest Service researchers stepped in to investigate. During the four years before the researchers’ arrival, unusual drought and abnormally high air temperatures combined with acid rain pollution and a rare outbreak of southern pine beetles to…  More 

Ecosystem Resilience in a Changing World

Native forests and grasslands across the world face a range of threats, including climate change, urbanization, and exotic species invasions. Ecosystem restoration is frequently offered as a partial solution to these threats, because less stressed ecosystems seem better equipped to resist invasion. “By aiming to restore ecosystem resilience, plant communities can endure in the face…  More