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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.

The Promise of Biochar for Forests, Grasslands, and Farms

Diane Banegas, August 24, 2017 at 12:45pm

Forest Service soil scientist Jim Archuleta first learned of biochar’s promise a few years ago when one of his colleagues mentioned it while they carpooled to and from work.


Coarse and pelleted biochar
Biochar in coarse and pelleted form.

Endangered Cedar Trees Poised to Make a Comeback Thanks to Forest Service Breeding Program

Diane Banegas, July 26, 2017 at 9:30am

The Port-Orford-cedar, a large evergreen tree, is native to the Pacific Northwest where it plays a significant role ecologically and commercially. The quality of its wood makes it an ideal choice for decking, siding, and flooring, and in specialty products such as wooden arrows and musical instruments. It is also planted around the world as an ornamental tree and for windbreaks.

Why Big Blazes are Burning up Budgets and Landscapes

Diane Banegas, July 21, 2017 at 3:00pm

In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its total budget on fighting fires. Today, it’s 52 percent and growing. What’s changed?


A fire whirl burning chaparral
A fire whorl in chaparral. Research can ideally help fire-managers make better, more cost-effective decisions when dealing with big blazes, and it can help everyone understand the trade-offs of fire-management decisions so fire managers can make the best possible decisions at all times for future wildland fires, according to research forester Matthew Thompson.

Small variations in breeding pools make for big differences in Yosemite toad use

Paul Meznarich, June 30, 2017 at 12:00pm

The Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) is a rare species found exclusively in California’s Sierra Nevada. While its range encompasses hundreds of miles, spanning five national forests and two national parks, the livelihood and future survival of this federally threatened species may come down to mere centimeters.


A photo of a breeding pair of Yosemite toads
A breeding pair of Yosemite toads (Anaxyrus canorus); a rare species found exclusively in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Christina Liang, USDA Forest Service.

Ecologists Look to Traditional Knowledge to Bolster Sustainability Science

Diane Banegas, September 19, 2016 at 10:30am

People all around the world manipulate ecosystems for their own purposes. It’s what you leave behind when you’re finished working or living in the area that determines whether the ecosystem survives or is irreparably harmed for future generations. For scientists like John Parrotta, national program leader for international science issues with the U.S. Forest Service, knowing what to leave behind is not always found in a college textbook or scientific journal.


A local market in central India
The therapeutic uses of many forest plant species, such as those pictured above in a local market in central India, are based on generations of experiences by traditional medical practitioners, and represent an important component of traditional forest knowledge (photo by John Parrotta)

Forest Service Databases Reimagined as Interactive Web-based Maps and More

Diane Banegas, September 19, 2016 at 10:15am

Forestry data is now available to resource professionals and the public in an engaging portfolio of web-based tools and applications.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program is in the information gathering business. The program invests $75 million a year to collect data across three themes: field inventories of forest land, a census of the forest products industry, and surveys of forest land owners.


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