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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.


Engagement Porfolio homepage
Engagement Porfolio homepage

Forest Service Research Improves Road Management and Influences National Policy

Cody Sullivan, August 11, 2016 at 11:15am

Forest Service researchers collaborated with partners to develop analytic tools that identify specific areas where water drains off forest roads and carries unwanted sediment into waterways. These tools, GRAIP (Geomorphic Road Analysis and Inventory Package) and GRAIP-Lite, informed new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy decisions.


A crewmember examines a collapsed stream crossing in Idaho as part of GRAIP’s forest road inventorying process
A crewmember examines a collapsed stream crossing in Idaho as part of GRAIP’s forest road inventorying process

Fire and Forests

Diane Banegas, August 4, 2016 at 1:15pm

Since the Forest Service officially established its branch of research more than 100 years ago, it has studied fire and its positive and negative roles in sustaining U.S. forests and grasslands.

Diners Love This Stinky Food

Patricia Matteson, July 28, 2016 at 9:45am

This edible non-timber forest product can cost as much as a good steak with prices ranging from $12 to $30 per pound.


Jim Chamberlain reviews placement of study plots where ramps have been harvested for commercial purposes in northwest Lower Michigan
Jim Chamberlain reviews placement of study plots where ramps have been harvested for commercial purposes in northwest Lower Michigan

U.S. Forest Service and Chinese Academy of Sciences Enter into a New Research Partnership

Cody Sullivan, July 1, 2016 at 12:45pm

On May 20, 2016, the U.S. Forest Service and Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly entered a scientific partnership. After years of sharing a mutual interest in urban forestry and ecology, the duo signed an official Letter of Intent declaring their new collaborative relationship.

Every year urban populations in the U.S. and China grow, increasing the need for a greater understanding of the natural aspects of a city (urban trees, wildlife, water) and how they interact with the social parts of cities such as clean water, climate resilience, or sustainable living.

Genetic Conservation Programs Can Help Protect Tree Species from Pathogens, Insects, and Future Climate Change

Cody Sullivan, June 23, 2016 at 11:45am

In today’s world of changing climates and unnatural human transport of pathogens and pests, a species’ survival relies on its adaptability more than ever. Easy-going temperaments and flexibility aren’t the types of adaptive natures a species needs. A species needs genetic diversity so that within its populations certain traits already exist that can help it adapt to and survive new threats. The U.S. Forest Service is a leader in realizing the need to conserve genetic diversity and operates genetic conservation programs to maintain it within tree species.

Scientists Draft a Natural Nemesis to Combat Invasive Tree-Killing Beetles

Cody Sullivan, June 9, 2016 at 10:15am

The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle from Asia, is blitzing ash trees in urban and forested ecosystems across North America. To date, this metallic green beetle has attacked and killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in 25 states, and its spread continues. To control this beetle, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using biological control, a long-term sustainable management tool that involves the introduction of specialized natural enemies from a pest’s native region.


Tetrastichus planipennisi
This wasp, Tetrastichus planipennisi, is one of four species of natural enemies, or parasitoids, released to control the emerald ash borer in North America.

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