Seeing the Rich Understory of Appalachian Forests for the First Time

On Tuesday, May 3, nine Ukrainians gathered in the lobby of an Asheville, North Carolina, hotel. The group included business people, economists, foresters, scientists, and scholars, and was part of an international forestry program that was designed to show the U.S. system of harvesting, using, and managing non-timber forest products, or NTFPs. “NTFPs include hundreds…  More 

Science Partners Launch “Ecosystem Benefits and Risks” Website

The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and the U.S. Forest Service are releasing products from the first phase of an ongoing study assessing benefits of and risks to the region’s “ecosystem services” — natural assets valued by people, such as clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, forest products, and biological conservation. A wealth of data, maps, and…  More 

Disturbance Affects Relationship between the Nitrogen and Carbon Cycles

Carbon and nitrogen are always on the move. Both elements are versatile – they are constantly being converted from one form to another, and are required by all living things. “Because plants, animals, and microbes also require fixed ratios of the two elements, carbon and nitrogen’s chemical cycles are inherently linked,” says U.S. Forest Service…  More 

It’s Ramp Festival Time in the Southern Appalachians

In the Appalachian Mountains, spring really starts with ramps and ramp festivals. Also known as wild leeks, ramps (Allium tricoccum) have been described as having a flavor that falls somewhere between that of garlic, onions, and scallions. While the taste is sweet, the pungent smell of ramps — and of those who’ve eaten them —…  More 

Coldwater Fish in Warming Streams

Scientists and managers are concerned about the future of trout in the southern Appalachian Mountains, but what about anglers? Over 100,000 people enjoy trout fishing in north Georgia. U.S. Forest Service scientist J. Michael Bowker recently coauthored a study about how trout anglers perceive climate change risks to trout. The study was led by Ramesh…  More 

Life after Hemlock: Restoring Riparian Forests in the Southern Appalachians

In the last decade, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny sap-sucking insect native to Japan, has swept through southern Appalachian forests, leaving dead hemlocks in its wake. Hemlock branches no longer shade streams or tower over shrubs, and their loss has affected streamside, or riparian, forests. “Without hemlock, more sunlight reaches the forest floor,” says U.S.…  More 

Susan Loeb Awarded Grant for Research Related to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

On September 29, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced $2.5 million in grants for research, management, and communication projects related to white-nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s killed millions of North American bats since 2007, when it was first documented. White-nose syndrome is caused by a cold-loving fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), that infects hibernating…  More 

Heat and Acid Could Squeeze Trout Out of Southern Appalachian Streams

A newly published research study that combines effects of warming temperatures from climate change with stream acidity projects average losses of around 10 percent of stream habitat for coldwater aquatic species for seven national forests in the southern Appalachians – and up to a 20 percent loss of habitat in the Pisgah and Nantahala National…  More 

Shifting Rainfall Patterns May Change Southern Appalachian Forest Structure

A new research study by U.S. Forest Service scientists finds that changes in rainfall patterns in the southern Appalachians due to climate change could reduce growth in six hardwood tree species common to the region. The findings have implications for forest managers in the Southeast, where climate variability (more extreme events or changes in precipitation…  More 

Hoping for Empty Traps

Sometimes you may not really want to find what you’re looking for. On June 11, 6th grader William David, along with his brother Bennett and mother Sherry, met U.S. Forest Service researchers Bud Mayfield and Bryan Mudder to set out traps along a greenway near the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) office in Asheville,…  More