Fire Frequency & Hardwood Regeneration

The mighty oak is a critical component of southern forests—for wildlife habitat, acorn production, and hardwood timber—but forests are changing, and its future is uncertain. A long-running U.S. Forest Service experiment studied the use of prescribed fire to control competition from shade-tolerant tree species like red maple, American beech, and blackgum. The study area, located on…  More 

The Chipola Experimental Forest

Located in the sandhills of the Florida Panhandle, the Chipola Experimental Forest (Chipola) was established in 1952 on privately owned land under a 99-year lease to the Southern Forest Experiment Station (now the Southern Research Station), International Paper Company, and Hardaway Contracting Company. The two companies requested the cooperative arrangement with the Forest Service to…  More 

There’s More to Restoration Than Planting Trees

Discussions about longleaf pine restoration tend to focus on planting seedlings, managing hardwood competition, and using prescribed fire, but ecosystem restoration also involves bringing back the groundcover that makes longleaf pine forests some of the richest plant communities on our planet. “The groundcover layer of the longleaf pine forest is truly extraordinary,” says Joan Walker, research plant ecologist with…  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