News and Events

Seminole Bats on the Move

Over the past 48 years, Seminole bats (Lasiurus seminolus) have drastically expanded their range. “The northern edge of their summer range has expanded by 323 miles,” says Roger Perry, a USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. “That’s approximately 7 miles a year since 1970.”


Forest Birds & Forest Trees

For every stage of forest succession, there’s a bird species that needs it. But others are flexible, thriving in many types of forests. The blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, summer tanager, and white-breasted nuthatch are all associated with mature forests.

But a recent study suggests these birds are forest generalists rather than mature forest obligates.


Center for Restoration in Southern Pine Ecosystems (CRiSPE)

CRiSPE represents a framework for centralizing research being done by the Southern Research Station on the restoration and management of southern pine ecosystems. This story map provides an overview of unit and personnel locations, unit research, experimental forests, and southern pine ranges.


Arkansas Research Forester Receives International and Regional Honors

Silvicultural histories are recognized by forestry professionals from the United Kingdom to Arkansas. The Editorial Board of Forestry, an international journal of forest research, recently awarded USDA Forest Service research forester Don Bragg the 2017 Percy Stubbs, John Bolton King and Edward Garfitt Prize for Silviculture for advancing silviculture research.


Louisiana’s First Lady of Forestry

Caroline C. “Carrie” Dormon was shaped by her family’s influence and interest in nature. Today she is recognized as a woman who excelled in a male dominated world – as well as a pioneer conservationist, forester, botanist, illustrator, and native plant enthusiast.


Very Crafty Caterpillars

Butterflies are the charismatic megafauna of the insect world. Who doesn’t admire the stripes on an Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), the eye spots on the Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), or the amazing journey of the Monarch (Danaus plexippus), flying from Canada to Mexico to return to a place only known to its great-grandparents?


Why Native Plants Are Best

In 1733, Peter Collinson, a botanist and cloth merchant, walked with great excitement to the ship docks in London. He picked up two boxes of seeds from an American farmer named John Bartram. With these exotic seeds, Collinson transformed English gardens.

In return, Collinson sent Bartram seeds from England and other countries. Andrea Wulf discusses this great seed exchange and friendship in her book, The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession. It’s a fascinating read. But Wulf fails to address the unintended ecological consequences of this innocent exchange.


Chinese Tallow Litter and Tadpoles

Centuries ago, a tree was plucked out of its native ecosystems and introduced to the U.S. Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) is a showy tree with waxy seeds and heart-shaped leaves.

Every autumn, its leaves turn crimson or orange before falling to the ground – or the water. “Chinese tallow invades wetlands and riparian areas in the Southeast,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Daniel Saenz.

In wetlands, the fallen leaves can kill frog and toad eggs, as Saenz and others showed in 2012.


Adaptations Help Illustrate Importance of Biodiversity

Protection and restoration of open pine ecosystems — woodlands dominated by large pine trees spaced about 50 feet apart with sparse mid-story and shrub layers and a rich herbaceous layer — in the Coastal Plain of southern Arkansas has been a high priority of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and partners for over two decades. One of the two pines within this ecosystem, shortleaf (Pinus echinata), has the largest range of any of the pines in the southeastern United States.


Planting for Pollinators

On a misty November day, 15 gardeners gathered in front of the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They brought their shovels and many pots of native plants.

“We installed about 30 different species,” says U.S. Forest Service forestry technician Virginia McDaniel. McDaniel designed the garden with Susan Hooks, Ouachita National Forest botanist.


Forestry’s Early Entrepreneurs

Before the Crossett Experimental Forest existed, two engineers-turned-lumbermen began rehabilitating the cutover ‘pineywoods.’

“In 1925, Leslie Pomeroy and Eugene Connor bought the Ozark Badger Lumber Company,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Don Bragg. “The company was small and nearly defunct, and Pomeroy and Connor turned it into a profitable, long-term example of uneven-aged silviculture.”


Prescribed Fire and Snags in Shortleaf Pine Woodlands

“I’ve spent years working in these shortleaf pine woodlands and always wondered about the availability of snags, especially given their importance to bats,” says U.S. Forest Service research wildlife biologist Roger W. Perry.


National Silviculture Workshop

In 1973, foresters and scientists gathered for the first U.S. Forest Service National Silviculture Workshop. Since 1979, the workshop has been held every two years.


How much Smoke will a Prescribed Fire Produce?

Prescribed fire is an important and widely used management tool, but the smoke produced can cause air quality issues and health problems. Before conducting prescribed fires, managers typically model the amount of smoke a fire will produce, which is directly related to the amount of fuel available.


Alum Creek Experimental Forest

The 4,660-acre Alum Creek Experimental Forest was established in the late 1950s in the upper headwaters of the Lake Winona Basin near Jessieville, Arkansas. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Southern Pine Ecology and Management unit, Alum Creek is affiliated administratively with the Ouachita National Forest.


Enough Seeds to Plant a Billion Pines

In the early 20th century, steam-powered logging equipment arrived in the longleaf pine forests of the southern U.S. Coastal Plain, and the “golden age of lumbering” began. When the sawdust settled, millions of acres in the region – especially along the Western Gulf Coast – were barren.


The Crossett Experimental Forest

Since it was established in 1934, the Crossett Experimental Forest has served as the repository of silvicultural alternatives to the intensive plantation methods that dominate industrial forestry on the Coastal Plain. The not-so-hidden secret of southern forestry is that naturally regenerated Coastal Plain loblolly-shortleaf pine is one of the Nation’s most pliable forest types, able to be sustainably managed using an entire spectrum of even-aged and uneven-aged silvicultural systems.


The Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest

Located seven miles west of Nacogdoches, Texas, the 2,560-acre Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest was established by an act of Congress in 1945. For its first 15 years, the experimental forest was primarily used for research that improved methods for growing loblolly and shortleaf pine. In 1949, 40 acres were set aside as a demonstration forest where landowners could learn how to manage small lots for timber production as part of the Forest Service Farm 40 project.


Winter Prescribed Fire and Litter-Roosting Bats

Rather than hibernating in caves, some bat species in the southeastern U.S. get through the coldest parts of winter by roosting under fallen leaves, twigs, and other dead plant material on the forest floor. Although this leaf litter protects bats from the cold, it could also put them at risk of being injured or killed by prescribed fires.


Managing Forests to Conserve Bat Populations Affected by White-Nose Syndrome

In March 2016, scientists found bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that’s killed millions of North American bats across the eastern United States, in Washington state, over 1,000 miles from the nearest confirmed infection site in eastern Oklahoma.


Guidelines for Producing Quality Longleaf Pine Seeds

High-quality longleaf pine seeds are essential for producing nursery seedlings that perform well in the field, but producing them is not as easy as it might seem. Longleaf pine seeds are unusually sensitive to damage during collection, processing, treatment and storage.


Turning Trees into Bioenergy: What are the Effects on Soil?

Timber has been harvested for hundreds of years, but current bioenergy operations use more parts of a tree than ever before; small branches that used to be considered non-merchantable are now often harvested instead of left rotting on the forest floor.


Little Rock Hosts International Silviculture Workshop

On May 31st, over 50 researchers from the United States, China, Germany, Slovenia, Chile, Germany, Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, and the United Kingdom descended upon Little Rock, Arkansas to discuss forestry management techniques from around the world at the 10th International Workshop on Uneven-aged Silviculture.


2016 Southern Pine Silviculture Training Held in Arkansas and Louisiana

For 10 straights days from 25 April through May 3, U.S. Forest Service personnel from the Southern Research Station, Region 8, and State and Private Forestry (S&PF) taught a short course on southern pine silviculture as part of the National Advanced Silviculture Program (NASP). The silviculture certification program for the Forest Service, NASP consists of four core training modules led by academic institutions, and a fifth local area module developed specifically to build expertise in regional forest types.


The Mid-South Forests of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas

Like most regions of the U.S., the future of the Mid-South forests of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas is one of challenge. A report by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station outlines those challenges and presents options for managing forests over the next half century.


Fall Tree Roosts Help Male Indiana Bats Survive Hibernation

“Two resources are most important to bats in the eastern U.S.,” says U.S. Forest Service biologist Roger Perry. “Roosts – places they can safely spend daylight hours – and insects for food.” Because roosts also allow bats to sink into torpor, a state of lowered metabolism and energy usage, roosts may be as important for gaining weight as food. When bats enter torpor, they are able to reduce the amount of energy they are using, and store more fat during fall, which is critical to surviving through winter hibernation.