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Posts tagged: Forests

Bringing Back Diversity in Eastern Forests for Landowners, Wildlife

Cerulean warblers spend part of the year in the Appalachian Mountains of North America as well as the Andes Mountains of South America. Photo by DJ McNeil.

Cerulean warblers spend part of the year in the Appalachian Mountains of North America as well as the Andes Mountains of South America. Photo by DJ McNeil.

What do biologists look for in a healthy forest? A diversity in the ages and composition of trees and occasional breaks in canopy to allow sunlight to reach understory plants. Healthy forests, just like healthy human populations, are sustained by a diversity of ages. Each group has a role to play in maintaining the whole community over the long term.

But healthy, diverse forests are on the decline across the eastern United States. A lack of natural and human-induced disturbances because of fire suppression and certain timber harvest methods have led the forested landscape to become largely homogenous. Read more »

Interactive Online Resource to Learn about Climate Change Adaptation

Responses to Climate Change: What You Need to Know module screengrab

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 »

Southern Landowners Want to Help At-Risk Wildlife Species

Red-cockaded woodpecker

The red-cockaded woodpecker is an at-risk species under pressure from a loss of forested habitat (Photo Credit: Mary Snieckus)

Amid rising numbers of at-risk wildlife in the South, a new report from the American Forest Foundation (AFF) revealed private and family landowners in the South offer a solution to help at-risk wildlife species.

Southern forests rank at the top in terms of biodiversity when measured by the number of wildlife and plant species. But, due to a variety of reasons, a significant number of the South’s wildlife species are at risk. The reasons include: forest conversion to non-forest uses such as strip malls and commercial expansion; fragmented waterways; natural fire suppression; and an influx of invasive species. Read more »

US Forest Service Every Kid in a Park Program Offers Field Trip Idea, Educational Resources – and a Free Holiday Tree Permit

A member of the Buffalo Soldiers of the American Northwest talking to fourth graders

A member of the Buffalo Soldiers of the American Northwest talk to fourth graders about the importance and contribution of black soldiers in the 1800s. Education about natural resources and history is an important part of U.S. Forest Service Every Kid in a Park field trips and events. (Photo courtesy National Parks Trust)

For the second year, the U.S. Forest Service is part of the administration’s Every Kid in a Park program, an initiative to provide American fourth graders with a free pass to more than 2,000 federal land and water sites for them, their siblings and up to three adults.

The pass includes access to 153 national forests, 20 grasslands and one tall grass prairie managed for the public by the Forest Service and other lands and waters managed by six other federal agencies. Some state parks also honor the pass. Read more »

Looking to the Future and Learning from the Past in our National Forests

A column of smoke rising from a forest fire

A massive column of smoke rises from a forest fire. Today’s rapidly changing conditions present challenges for forest managers when determining what plant species to replant after a disturbance like a wildland fire. Photo credit: US Forest Service

Forests are changing in ways they’ve never experienced before because today’s growing conditions are different from anything in the past. The climate is changing at an unprecedented rate, exotic diseases and pests are present, and landscapes are fragmented by human activity often occurring at the same time and place.

The current drought in California serves as a reminder and example that forests of the 21st century may not resemble those from the 20th century. When replanting a forest after disturbances, does it make sense to try to reestablish what was there before? Or, should we find re-plant material that might be more appropriate to current and future conditions of a changing environment? Read more »

Pennsylvania Landowners Helping Indiana Bat through ‘Spooky’ Declines

NRCS Chief Jason Weller with Tom Belinda and Rob Clauto

NRCS Chief Jason Weller (left) visited with NRCS District Conservationist Rob Clauto (center) and Blair County landowner Tom Belinda (right) to see some of the practices at work on the land.

When most people think of bats, images of dark caves, vampires and Halloween come to mind. But actually, bats get a bad rap, and we often don’t know how important they are for controlling insects, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and improving biodiversity.

Many of our nation’s bats are facing population declines to near-extinction levels, primarily because of disease and loss of habitat. One of those species is the Indiana bat, an endangered species that has experienced rapid declines since the 1960s. Read more »