News and Events

Monitoring Frog & Toad Populations?

Over the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly concerned about amphibians. “Populations of many frog and toad species have declined,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “The global decline highlights the need to monitor frogs and toads where they live.”


Women in Science: Callie Schweitzer

Meet SRS scientist Callie Schweitzer, a research forester with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Unit in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees in Forest Resources and Ecology from Pennsylvania State University.


Frogs, Toads, and Ephemeral Wetlands

When ephemeral wetlands swell with water, frogs and toads congregate to breed and lay their eggs,which hatch into tadpoles. “That’s risky business,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “Wetlands could dry before tadpoles metamorphose into juveniles.”


American Chestnuts in the Field: Out of the Nursery, Into the Wild

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut, but has the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees.”


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.


Home is a Pine Tree

Every summer, female Indiana bats fly through southern Appalachian forests looking for a place to rear their pups. A new study, coauthored by U.S. Forest Service research ecologist, Susan Loeb, suggests that the bats are looking for yellow pine snags.


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.


Unexpected Pest of Chestnut Trees

SRS research entomologist Bud Mayfield was relieved to find that defoliation on an American chestnut planting site was not as severe as expected. Mayfield and SRS research forester Stacy Clark are coauthors on a paper in the Journal of Insect Science that describes a study they conducted with Ashley Case, an adjunct lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.


Women in Science: Stacy Clark

The new Women in Science series features women scientists from across the Southern Research Station (SRS)–their education, career paths, challenges, achievements, and inspirations.


Where’s the Carbon?

Carbon is the foundational element of life, and trees use atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow. “Trees can partially offset carbon dioxide emissions,” says U.S. Forest Service plant physiologist John Butnor. “Trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time.”


New Native Plants Resource for Teachers

A plant module developed in partnership by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is now available online for teachers to download and use with K-12 students. The module integrates current science-based knowledge with the traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation of Cherokee.


Women in Science: Meet Susan Loeb

The new Women in Science series features women scientists from across the Southern Research Station (SRS)–their education, career paths, challenges, achievements, and inspirations.


Regeneration Response to Repeated Prescribed Burning in Appalachian Hardwood Forests

Management on public lands across the eastern US is increasingly focused on the restoration of resilient structures and species compositions, with prescribed burning being the primary tool by which many landscape-level restoration efforts are implemented.


Creating Oak Woodlands

Oak woodlands are typically made up of large, widely spaced trees. Flowering plants, grasses, and other herbaceous species flourish in the understory. “Many public lands managers want to create woodland habitats,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “They provide numerous ecological benefits.”


Bent Creek study tests method for reversing oak decline

At the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station in Asheville, Tara Keyser has spent years working on the vexing problem of oak regeneration. And since 2009, she’s pushed for a long-term study to determine whether an innovative forest management approach can help this species regenerate.


The Koen Experimental Forest

Named for Henry R. Koen, forest supervisor of the Ozark National Forest during the first half of the 20th century, the experimental forest was set aside to develop scientific principles for forest management. At 720 acres, the Koen is the smallest of the 19 experimental forests managed by Southern Research Station.


Digging up Past Connections at Bent Creek

A rock protruding through the grass in the lawn at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest was the beginning of a part time, amateur archaeology “dig” for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) employee, Linda Benz.


Paris of the South, Beer City — and Now Climate City

A recent conference titled “Measure Locally, Respond Globally” brought 35 journalists to Asheville, North Carolina, to learn more about what researchers and entrepreneurs are doing to address climate change — and may have also sparked a new nickname for the city of Asheville.


The Appalachian-Cumberland Highland: The Next 50 Years

The Southern Forest Futures Project, a multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Forest Service, aimed to forecast and interpret changes in southern forests under multiple scenarios over the next several decades.

The project also included a suite of sub-regional reports designed to explore futures on a smaller, more focused scale. Tara Keyser, research forester with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management unit, was lead author of the sub-regional report that describes possible futures and management implications across the U.S. Appalachian-Cumberland highland.


Managing for Natural Disturbances in Central Hardwood Forests

A recently published book edited by U.S. Forest Service researcher Katie Greenberg and Western Carolina University professor Beverly Collins offers detailed science-based information about the history of natural disturbances in the Central Hardwood Region of the U.S., and provides insight for managers and ecologists on managing the area’s forests.


American Chestnut, Past and Present

The Silvics of American Chestnut, a general technical report (GTR) available from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), describes the habitat, life history, special uses, genetics, and restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata).


When American Chestnuts Return to the Wild

Until recently, most American chestnut studies took place in labs or in orchards, as scientists focused on developing a blight-resistant hybrid that would grow like pure American chestnut.


Bent Creek Experimental Forest: First in the East

After World War I, when the Forest Service sought to establish an experimental station on a site that represented the diversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Bent Creek area of western North Carolina seemed the logical choice.


Creating Young Forests to Benefit Wildlife

There’s a tendency to think of the hardwood forests of the South as pristine, undisturbed, and unchanging. But forests are constantly changing, which is a good thing for disturbance-dependent species that require open structural conditions created immediately after forest disturbances or at some point early in the process of recovery.


Life in a Treehouse: How Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bats Choose their Roosts

In the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, Rafinesque’s big-eared bats often roost in tree hollows throughout the year. “Bats spend a good portion of their lives in roosts,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb. “Roosts protect bats from predators, and are where bats interact socially, mate, and raise young.”


Teaching Cherokee Indian Youth about Culturally Important Plants

The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) recently partnered to develop learning modules for children attending EBCI’s Snowbird Youth Center in Robbinsville, North Carolina. The youth center is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cherokee.


Natural Disturbances in Central Hardwood Forests: Science Synthesis for Managers

A new book edited by U.S. Forest Service researcher Katie Greenberg and Western Carolina University professor Beverly Collins offers detailed science-based information about the history of natural disturbances in the Central Hardwood Region of the U.S., and provides insight for managers and ecologists on managing the area’s forests.


American Chestnut, Past and Future

The Silvics of American Chestnut, a general technical report (GTR) available from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), describes the habitat, life history, special uses, genetics, and restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata).


Serendipity Has Guided Research Forester Henry McNab’s 50-Plus-Year Career

Spending Christmas with the Forest Service led Henry McNab, research forester, to become one of SRS’s longest serving employees. McNab started his career in Fort Myers, Florida, working for Jim Bethune measuring pine trees around Christmas time. He called the two-week stint with the Forest Service “kind of serendipitous” in helping lead him to where he is today. While he started out measuring pine trees, he now studies hardwood forests. He is located at the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management research unit in Asheville, North Carolina. On his own admission, he has probably worked for more project leaders and research station directors than most people.


International Bat Monitoring Research Group Receives “Wings Across the Americas” Award

On March 9th, U.S. Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb and numerous partners were recognized with the Forest Service Wings Across the Americas Research Award for their contributions to the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat).


Establishment of American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) bred for blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) resistance: influence of breeding and nursery grading

Scientist publishes on the first field testing of American chestnuts bred for blight resistance.


Proceedings of the 17th biennial southern silvicultural research conference

Scientists present in the “Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference.”


Proceedings: Wildland Fire in the Appalachians: Discussions Among Managers and Scientists

Scientists present in the proceeding “Wildland Fire in the Appalachians: Discussions Among Managers and Scientists.”


Dreaming of Giants: The Future of American Chestnut Restoration

For almost a hundred years, foresters have dreamed of the American chestnut’s return. “As the 21st century unfolds, the chestnut restoration goal may be closer to reality,” says U.S. Forest Service Southern Reseearch Station (SRS) scientist Stacy Clark.


Restoring the Forest Before Gypsy Moths Invade

Keeping forests healthy is better than trying to restore them after droughts or insect outbreaks have already killed trees, but identifying future threats is sometimes a challenge. Not so in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the Cumberland Plateau area of Kentucky. Oaks dominate the area, but they are under stress and susceptible to decline, while invasive gypsy moths expand their range every year and will probably reach the Forest within the next several decades. The moth larvae eat the leaves of trees and shrubs, and defoliation could interact with oak decline to kill many trees in the Cumberland Plateau.


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.


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, and Beverly Collins, a professor at Western Carolina University.


Blue Valley Experimental Forest

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest of the 19 managed by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS).