Carolina Hemlock Populations: Isolated and Imperiled

Hemlocks are under attack. U.S. Forest Service scientists and their partners are working to save the native conifers from the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect from Japan. Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) trees can survive HWA infestation for a decade or more but often die within four years. Carolina hemlocks grow in tiny, isolated…  More 

Harvest Disturbance Recovery in Wet Pine Flats

Just after Hurricane Hugo roared over the Atlantic coastal plain in 1989, U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist Bill McKee (now retired) visited Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina. Some of its wet pine flats were so badly damaged that they looked like they had been clearcut. McKee was joined by Michael Aust and…  More 

SRS Researcher Receives Grant to Study White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed more than six million bats over the past decade. WNS is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Studies show that bats eat enough insect pests to save the U.S. corn industry more than $1 billion a year in crop damage and pesticide costs, and more than $3 billion per…  More 

Protecting White-Tailed Deer Fawns

Wild animals are often immersed in a mortal struggle. For white-tailed deer fawns, the struggle entails hiding from predators like coyotes. “Fawns are highly vulnerable to coyote predation,” says John Kilgo. Kilgo is a research wildlife biologist at the U.S. Forest Service, and he recently coauthored a study about coyotes, fawns, and land cover. Coyotes…  More 

Bats Adapt to Disturbed Habitat

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) is considered a rare and sensitive species. The bats are small, with a body length of three to four inches, ears just over one inch, a wingspan just shy of a foot, and they weigh around half an ounce — less than a slice of bread. Though their range includes much of…  More 

Restoration in the Understory

Some plants are homebodies and refuse to thrive in new areas. “Plants have unique abilities to thrive where they grow but moving plants outside their genetically adapted environment might cause them not to grow as well,” says Joan Walker, SRS research plant ecologist. The U.S. Forest Service, led by Walker, is partnering with federal and state…  More 

Spring Break Fire Training

Setting a forest on fire is not what you would call a typical a spring break activity. Sixteen graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Georgia (UGA) did just that during a course in wildland fire science at Savannah River Ecology Lab at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The course, Wildland Fire,…  More 

Promoting Sustainable Forestry on African American Family Lands

New insight on the challenges and opportunities facing African American family forest owners in the Southeast was just published by U.S. Forest Service scientists in Small Scale Forestry.  SRS research forester John Schelhas, SRS research social scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither, and University of Georgia assistant research scientist Sarah Hitchner summarized interviews with 60 minority landowners in…  More 

After the Fire, What Happens to Water Yield?

The immediate impacts of large and severe wildfires on water runoff have long been known to researchers, land managers, and, increasingly, the communities in their path. Devastating mudslides and millions of dollars in flood damage occur each year following fires that compromise vegetation and soils that would otherwise absorb and regulate the flow of post-fire…  More 

In South Carolina, Coyotes Not a Threat to Adult Deer

In parts of the northeastern U.S., white-tailed deer populations have ballooned. Not so in parts of the southeastern U.S., such as South Carolina, where the statewide deer population has been declining for about 12 years. “In the Southeast, coyotes often prey on white-tailed deer fawns,” says U.S. Forest Service research wildlife biologist John Kilgo. “There…  More