Science Stories

How people manage their yards can help, or not help, native wildlife

Jane Hodgins , 

When you add it up, backyards make up the biggest chunk of green space found in cities. For urban ecologists, the persistent question is whether this habitat can sustain native species.

Susannah Lerman, a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, revisited research she conducted as part of her Ph.D. dissertation 13 years ago to discover whether trends she found in the number of bird species and the abundance of birds in Phoenix, Ariz., were holding true and, if so, what that means for native species in an increasingly urban world.

A picture of a desert bird, the verdin, from the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Peatland ecosystems studied to better predict environmental change

Diane Banegas , 

An ambitious ecosystem-level experiment in Minnesota is evaluating the response of northern peatland ecosystems to warmer temperatures and elevated carbon dioxide.


Mapping Mountain Peatlands

Forest Service Employee Stands on Peatland Forest Service scientists are working with university partners to develop and apply new methods to map mountain peatlands.