Researchers are harvesting beetle-killed trees in the Rocky Mountain region for use as feedstock for biofuel. (iStock image)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Trees killed by bark beetles have, for years, been a source of fuel for forest fires. Now, those very trees are being turned into biofuel and biobased products.
This vast bioenergy resource—approximately 46 million acres—requires no cultivation, circumvents food-versus-fuel concerns, and may have a highly favorable carbon balance compared other forestry feedstocks. The problem, however, is that beetle-killed biomass is typically located far from urban industrial centers in relatively inaccessible areas, which means transportation costs are a key barrier to widespread utilization of this vast resource. Read more »
Bi-State sage-grouse live at the California-Nevada border, and biologists estimate that between 1,800 and 7,400 of these ground-dwelling birds inhabit about 4.5 acres of sagebrush habitat. Bureau of Land Management photo.
We can achieve more when we voluntarily work together, and the decision today not to list the Bi-State sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act proves the power of partnerships. In this case, collectively, we were able to proactively conserve and restore habitat for this geographically distinct sage-grouse.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with conservation partners and ranchers in Nevada and California to take steps to benefit sage-grouse habitat while also helping ranchers improve their ranching operations. Meanwhile, this work helps connect public lands like national forests, where U.S. Forest Service is working to restore habitat, too. Read more »
Jo Santiago, a U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Biologist who educates the public on birds through live demonstrations, shows off a Red-tailed Hawk during the “Wings Across America” event. (Photo by Sean Kelley)
When it comes to the U.S. Forest Service, it’s not always about trees.
Sometimes it’s all about the birds, the dragonflies and the butterflies. Oh, and the bats. At least, that’s what it was all about during a ceremony last month recognizing some great contributions from U.S. Forest Service and partner organizations to the Wings Across the Americas program in the past year.
In a festive event held in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of the 80th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, U.S. Forest Service employees and agency partners received shout-outs for outstanding efforts supporting migratory species across the nation and beyond. Read more »
An aerial view of mastication efforts to remove pinyon and juniper trees encroaching in bi-state sage grouse habitat on a Smith Valley rancher’s Bureau of Land Management grazing allotment, east of Minden, Nevada. The pinyon and juniper removal is part of an NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative project near the Conifer Forum field tour location. (Photo courtesy NRCS)
Bi-state sage-grouse, a geographically distinct population of small game bird that lives along the border of Nevada and California, rely on a healthy sagebrush ecosystem. One of the largest habitat threats to the sage-grouse is the encroachment of pinyon and juniper trees.
Once pinyon and juniper trees move into a sagebrush-steppe area, they act simultaneously like straws and umbrellas — sucking out what little water hits the soil, while providing a canopy to catch rainfall so little moisture reaches the plants and shrubs below the trees. Little by little, the trees can close in on an area, squeezing out precious habitat for the sage-grouse. They also deter sage-grouse from landing in the area, as the birds are frightful of these tall, foreign objects that interrupt their flight path and provide a perch for predators. Read more »
Tree planting in Kfardebian, Mount Lebanon. (Photo Credit: Lebanon Reforestation Initiative)
Since 2013, the United Nations (UN) has selected March 21 to be the unique day that the world thinks about the importance of trees. The U.S. Forest Service celebrates the International Day of Forests by bringing awareness about our involvement with international partners to continue to protect the health of forest worldwide.
For instance in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean country of Lebanon, the power of one symbolic cedar tree, the image on the country’s flag, captures the promise and strength of an entire nation. Read more »
Covering millions of acres of forested lands in the West, the Ponderosa Pine can grow to heights of over 200 feet. (U.S. Forest Service Photo)
The second in a series of blogs honoring the United Nation’s 2015 International Day of Forests
On Saturday, March 21, the U.S. Forest Service will celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Forests. With such an important worldwide recognition of all forests do for us humans, the Forest Service would like folks to ask themselves: Do I really know how much trees contribute to my daily life?
Or, in another words, what is the power of one tree?
Just as we humans are comprised of many parts functioning together allowing us to do wondrous things, the anatomy of a tree is just as wondrous, empowering them with super hero qualities. Read more »