Young Forests Can Benefit Wildlife

It’s easy to think of forests as peaceful, unchanging places. In reality, this isn’t the case, because forests are much more dynamic than they may seem. In fact, forests are shaped by change, and many forest ecosystems depend upon it. In the aftermath of a major change or disturbance like wildfire or human clearing of…  More 

Learning about the Importance of Proper Road Construction

“It is ironic that roads designed to help people enjoy the Appalachians often destroy the beautiful scenery and clear water that make the mountains so attractive. Poorly constructed access roads often cause severe erosion, and stream sedimentation. These effects can degrade water quality for decades. Erosion can be disastrous in fragile mountain environments, and the…  More 

The Next Fifty Years of Acorn Production

Some acorns go on to become the next generation of oak trees, but others are eaten by birds, bears, rodents, and deer. Rodents are in turn eaten by carnivores, and deer browsing affects which kinds of plants become established and survive. “Acorns have a far-reaching influence on wildlife species and forest ecology,” says U.S. Forest…  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 

New Study Finds Lower Elevation Forests More Affected by Drought

Recently published research by scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the  U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), and two other universities shows how the effects of drought on lower elevation forest watersheds in the Southeast could affect drinking water supplies as the region’s climate continue to change.  Taehee Hwang,…  More 

Symposium Update: Natural Disturbances and Historic Range of Variation

Over 60 land managers, scientists, students, and professors attended a recent symposium on natural disturbances and historic range of variation. The symposium was held at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and organized by Cathryn Greenberg, project leader of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management unit,…  More 

Innovative Web App Blends Trails and Forest Science

Today, just in time for Memorial Day, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) unveiled the Forest Trail Explorer, a searchable web application (web app) that combines details on three popular trail systems in western North Carolina with the state-of-the-science information the SRS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit collects on the region’s forests.…  More 

Learning About Climate Change Can be Fun

On May 6, students from the Schenck Job Corps Center in Pisgah, North Carolina, traveled up the mountain  from their center to test drive a new climate change exhibit at the Cradle of Forestry, the birthplace of forestry and forest conservation located in the Pisgah National Forest. Designed and installed by the U.S. Forest Service Southern…  More 

Researchers Track “Gray Ghosts” Across the Southern Appalachians

People living in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States have long enjoyed a rich culture of storytelling. Often rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, stories from Appalachian folklore serve to entertain as well as to educate; sometimes, important life lessons emerge, especially from tales of demise. A present-day ghost story…  More 

Appalachian-Cumberland Highlands: The Next 50 Years

Knowing more about how the future might unfold can improve decisions that have long-term consequences. The Southern Forest Futures Project, a multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Forest Service, aims to forecast and interpret changes in southern forests under multiple scenarios over the next several decades. The first of five sub-regional reports to explore these…  More