The Ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii) is a good indicator of forest ecosystem health. (U.S. Forest Service/Hartwell Welsh)
With the Year of the Salamander now in full swing, there’s no wonder why everyone seems to be talking about these little creatures… they are the new canary in the coal mine when it comes to understanding forest health.
Woodland salamanders, small, ground-dwelling or subterranean, and primarily nocturnal creatures, are a common species in North American forests; and researchers from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station say they are reliable indicators of recovery in damaged forest ecosystems. Read more »
Official NASA portrait of Stuart Roosa (Courtesy NASA)
Many space enthusiasts know that one of the U.S. Forest Service’s most famous former employees was astronaut Stuart Roosa. The smokejumper circled the moon as part of NASA’s Apollo 14 mission more than 40 years ago.
However, what most folks don’t know is that Roosa brought a group of tiny travelers along for the ride. After all these years, they’re still among us today, living quietly across the United States. Their names – Douglas fir, sequoia and loblolly pine – are familiar to most everyone because they were seeds from these and other well-known tree species. Read more »
In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighborhood, trees help lower energy costs, conserve landscape water use, reduce storm-water runoff and store carbon. (Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station photo).
Many people like to add trees to their landscaping to enhance the design of a well-planned yard.
But, it can mean so much more.
Planting trees on your property can lower energy costs and increase carbon storage, reducing your carbon footprint while making your home the show-stopper of the neighborhood. Read more »
Rat poison used on illegal marijuana farms pose a threat to fishers (pictured) and other forest animals.
Illegal marijuana farms in our nation’s forests are not only threatening the safety of humans in these recreational areas, but are also causing ecological damage to the land. And now, there’s proof that the animals that make the forests their homes are also being harmed. Read more »
Prescribed burn at the Tahoe National Forest. (Photo: Steve McKelvey, U.S. Forest Service
There’s hot debate over whether or not to conduct prescribed burning and mechanical thinning (the manual removal of trees) in our nation’s forests. Supporters of these fuels reduction methods, which remove highly flammable undergrowth, argue that they help lower the severity of wildfires. Meanwhile, opponents say that the treatments can hurt the environment. Read more »
Rare red foxes are making a surprising comeback according to U.S. Forest Service scientists who have released information claiming that at least six Sierra Nevada red foxes, a species once believed to have been nearly wiped out in the 1920s, are roaming in the wilderness south of Yosemite.
Although there is another known small population in another region of California the new find of just a half dozen of these fury and foxy animals still makes the species extremely rare. Now experts are expanding their studies in hopes of finding more red foxes in the Yosemite area. Read more »