The Calhoun Experimental Forest

Until the middle of the 20th century, forest researchers were mostly concerned with what could be done above the ground — growing trees, protecting them from insects and diseases, maximizing productivity, and regenerating stands after harvesting. It was not until 1947, when the Calhoun Experimental Forest (Calhoun) was established on the Sumter National Forest in…  More 

Flowers on the Forest Floor: Herbaceous Contributions to Ecosystem Processes

Plant diversity in eastern U.S. forests comes not only from trees, but from the ferns, wildflowers, and other herbaceous plants on the forest floor.  Some researchers have found that as much as 90 percent of plant diversity is due to these understory species. “Until recently, not much was known about the role these plants play…  More 

Harvesting Southern Pines for Bioenergy: Potential Impacts on Soil

Soils are the foundation of the forested ecosystem, producing timber and clean water while supporting biodiversity and storing carbon. A new study led by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist D. Andrew Scott examines how harvesting for bioenergy affects soil ecosystem services in loblolly pine plantations. Many southern pine stands are being harvested…  More 

Bringing Fire Back to the Kisatchie Sandstone Hills

The hillside bogs, sandstone glades, and woodlands of the Kisatchie Sandstone Hills in Louisiana are potential homes to a number of rare and endangered animals such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and the Louisiana pine snake. However, in much of the Kisatchie Hills, the open woodlands these animals need have vanished amid a dense midstory of…  More 

Jennifer Knoepp Named Soil Science Society of America Fellow

U.S. Forest Service scientist Jennifer Knoepp was recently selected as a Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Fellow for 2014.  Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by SSSA, an international scientific society whose more than 6,000 members are dedicated to advancing the field of soil science and fostering the transfer of knowledge and practices to…  More 

When It Rains, It Pours…and Increases Soil Erosion Potential in a Changing Climate

Anyone who has seen a gully carved by water flowing over land or a muddied creek following a rainstorm has witnessed soil erosion. Beyond its messiness, water-caused soil erosion can have far reaching impacts. When nutrients and organic matter in soils are washed away, decreased soil fertility affects food production, sediment entering streams and rivers…  More 

The Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory

From surface to core, the Earth’s radius is almost 4,000 miles, but only the uppermost sliver of that rocky expanse, called the critical zone, sustains life. This zone extends from the base of weathered rock to the treetops, and includes water, soils, vegetation, and animals.   A new study, led by Duke University and funded…  More