Forests, Farms, or Houses?

Molecules relentlessly cycle from one form to another. “Simple human activities, such as building homes, can affect these cycles,” says…  More 

Stream Crossings and Water Quality

In many situations, the adage “dirt doesn’t hurt” is true. One important exception is when soils erode, and rain washes the sediments into streams. Johnny Boggs, a biological scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, recently led a study on preventing stream sedimentation in forests. Sedimentation impacts water quality and can…  More 

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. Although Indiana bats sometimes roosted in other trees, they strongly preferred yellow pine snags, especially…  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 

Where Are the Southern Pine Beetles?

Between 2005 and 2015, only 18 counties in the southern U.S. experienced southern pine beetle outbreaks–fewer than two outbreak counties per year on average. U.S. Forest Service entomologist Chris Asaro wanted to know why and worked with two other Forest Health Protection scientists, John Nowak and Anthony Elledge, on a new review paper published in Forest…  More 

Grow Your Own Ramps!

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 

Hybrids in the Seed Orchards

Shortleaf pine is under siege, and one of the threats has emerged in seed orchards. “In some shortleaf seed orchards, 10 percent of trees are hybrids,” says U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Dana Nelson. “Although the majority we’d consider shortleaf pine, even a few hybrids is enough to raise concern.” To some extent, shortleaf and…  More 

Sassafras and Laurel Wilt Disease

The scent of a crushed sassafras leaf is unforgettable – sweet, pungent, fragrant. If you have never plucked one of the leaves and rolled it around between your fingers, you should. “Sassafras is susceptible to laurel wilt disease,” says U.S. Forest Service research mathematical statistician KaDonna Randolph. “The disease has not reached the heart 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 

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…  More 

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. Meet SRS scientist Stacy Clark, a research forester with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Unit in Knoxville, Tennessee. She received a B.S. from the University of Tennessee in Forest Management and…  More