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Forest Service Scientists Do Some Serious Sleuthing to Detect Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites

Diane E. Banegas, July 20, 2018 at 10:30am

The problem of illegal marijuana farms on national forests is, pardon the pun, growing. In spite of the fact that “pot” is now legal in California and other parts of the U.S. for medicinal and recreational use, illegal marijuana growing is still a billion dollar industry with international tentacles. In fact, the number of illegal grow sites increased dramatically following California’s Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana.

Smokejumper in Space brings back "Moon Trees"

Lincoln Bramwell, June 18, 2018 at 1:15pm

In January 1971, Astronaut and former Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa travelled to the moon aboard Apollo 14, carrying in his flight suit 400-500 tree seeds as part of a Forest Service experiment he helped conceive. After his safe return to Earth, the Forest Service germinated the seeds and successfully planted “moon trees” throughout the 50 states along with one on the White House grounds.


Volunteers Count Every Street Tree in New York City

Devon Merriman, November 8, 2017 at 2:00pm

Did you know?  Over 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities or metropolitan areas, making urban trees more important than ever. Trees bring many benefits to human health—they filter air pollution, release oxygen, reduce mental stress, and absorb rainwater and noise.


City street lined with trees
City street lined with trees.

Bats do not make it easy to study bats

Jane Hodgins, October 25, 2017 at 3:45pm

For decades, bats have defied scientists’ best ideas for keeping track of individuals, which is crucial to wildlife research. Banding (either legs or forearms) can result in injury, and banded bats are seldom recaptured anyway. Tattoos take too long. Holes punched in their wings are only visible for 5 months. Electronic tags have to be close to a reading device to work.


bat wing anatomy
Photograph of a bat's left wing.

Baltimore's Urban Tree Canopy Flourishes

Jane Hodgins, October 12, 2017 at 9:15am

Tree canopy cover is a vital but impermanent urban asset. “Urban tree canopy” is the extent of the outer layers of leaves (or canopy) of a tree or group of trees. Tree canopy can increase dramatically in a year with excellent growing conditions, and just as dramatically it may disappear in a single season in the face of insect infestations or drought or a change in land use.

Washington Boulevard tree canopy

Graphic displaying urban tree canopy from 2007 and 2015
Tree cover surround Baltimore's Washington Boulevard in 2007 (top) and the same view in 2015 (bottom). Images courtesy of the University of Vermont.

Elm Proceedings

Jane Hodgins, October 3, 2017 at 10:00am

If you are old enough and grew up far enough away from Ohio, where Dutch elm disease was identified in the 1930s, you may remember a canopy of mature American elm arching above your street. Today that image exists only in photographs; Dutch elm disease long ago eliminated mature American elm from the city streets and northeastern forests of their native range.


Group learning about Dutch elm disease
A field trip which discussed Dutch elm disease.

Proposed smoke management framework allows larger prescribed fires with fewer health risks

Paul Meznarich, September 1, 2017 at 2:00pm

Before a single drip torch is lit or blade of grass ignited, fire management staff must consult with state or local air quality control officials to negotiate a fine balance between using fire as a restorative tool on the landscape with concerns about smoke and its impacts on public health.


Forest Service employee manages prescribed fire
Forest Service researchers have proposed a new way of applying existing fire and weather modeling software to allow more acres to be treated with prescribed fires while minimizing smoke effects on downwind communities. Photo credit Eldorado National Forest.

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