Wood pellets which can be used as biofuel are one example of the many technologies and products the Forest Service produces or supports that provide sizable financial benefits to stakeholders and industry. (Photo credit: USDA)
When most people think of forests, science isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but, perhaps, it should. That’s because the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program oversees projects across many science disciplines including forestry, genetics, wildlife, forest products and wildfire.
And the agency has been using this science to deliver returns on investments for stakeholders, industry partners, and the public.
For instance Forest Service research supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision to not list the Greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act, listing the species would have necessitated restrictions on economic activity across 163 million acres. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack steps on stage at Bonelli Regional Park.
Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sent the following message to all USDA employees:
I want to take this opportunity on my final day at USDA to express my profound gratitude to the people who work at USDA. Every day, nearly 90,000 people leave their families and the comfort of their home to do the people’s work in the People’s Department. What an amazing job you do each day for the country. Read more »
Knowing the maximum size of a tree can help a planner or manager avoid future conflicts between roots and sidewalks or branches and power lines. A technical manual published by the U.S. Forest Service can help cities decide which trees are best to plant in specific areas. (Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service)
In the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. But now city planners and urban foresters have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently published a technical manual and launched the most extensive database available cataloging urban trees with their projected growth tailored to specific geographic regions. Read more »
As the traveling Forest Service representative, Teresa Butel helped facilitate the migration station by talking to students about different native bird species (Photo Credit: Julia Schwitzer, Wilderness Inquiry).
A young girl looks fearfully at the large wooden canoe bobbing on the water. She steps into the canoe and it moves. She yelps, and is given a reassuring smile by her boat captain. She gets settled holding her paddle tightly, convinced with every movement that the canoe will capsize.
The canoe takes off as everyone starts to paddle in sync in order to glide across the water. She begins to relax and enjoy herself, soaking up the sun, blue sky and fresh air. Before she knows it, the canoe is coming to dock, and she’s imagining her next adventure on the water. Read more »
Frank Lake, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Station, jots down some field notes after visiting a forest study plot in northern California. (Photo Credit: Kenny Sauve, Western Klamath Restoration Partnership).
Frank Lake grew up learning traditional practices from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes. He developed an interest in science which led to his career choice as a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. As a young man, he didn’t realize how unusual the experience was of spending time in two parallel worlds.
The Megram Fire of 1999 was a turning point for Lake, and the Forest Service as well. It was one of California’s largest wildland fires ever and the agency grappled with how to restore salmon in the burned over watershed. Lake knew that local tribal elders considered “fire as medicine,” and an important part of the ecosystem. The link between fire and fish is through water, they told him, and “water is sacred to all life.” Fires could reduce the number of trees in overly dense forests and improve spring flow needed by rivers to support healthy fisheries. Read more »
The new online resource: Responses to Climate Change: What You Need to Know gives a brief overview of the adaptation options, resistance, resilience, and transition, and how to incorporate them into natural resource planning, as well as providing definitions and descriptions of mitigation and restoration.
The Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) has recently released a new education resource on climate change adaptation responses to help the USDA Forest Service, USDA Climate Hubs, other agencies, and the general public learn more about responding to a changing climate. The CCRC is an online, nationally-relevant resource that connects land managers and decision-makers with credible, relevant, and useable science to address climate change in natural resource planning and application.
Natural resource managers are already observing changes in their forests and rangelands and experiencing challenges managing these lands in a changing climate. In order to continue to maintain healthy forests and rangelands into the future, land managers need to understand how to address these challenges and respond to climate change effects. This requires that managers assess the vulnerabilities and risks associated with climate change and choose the best course of action for the landscapes they manage. Read more »