Southern Roots in New York

Urban-rural connections are quite important for land and forest management in the South. From the early 1900s to about 1970, many African Americans migrated from southern farms to industrializing northern cities, and since then many have returned to their homelands. As a USDA Forest Service researcher, I’ve studied African American forest landownership since 1999. I…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Immigration and Reproduction Complicate Coyote Control Programs

Coyotes arrived in the Southeast relatively recently. “Beginning in the early 20th century, coyotes started moving eastward,” says John Kilgo, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service. “But they weren’t recorded in South Carolina until the late 1970s.” From an evolutionary perspective, they’ve been incredibly successful. They have become quite common in the Southeast.…  More 

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 woolly 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