Monday, October 3, 2016

Fire in The South Explained

I am excited about this!  Our SRS Center for Disturbance Science recently partnered with Untamed Science to produce a video that helps explain the complexities of forest fires in the Southern U.S. 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hi-tech redneck...

Even Foresters use technology from time to time.  This week I have been playing with various sensors and data loggers that we will utilize in our hemlock restoration study.  Assembling, disassembling, wiring, and un-wiring to figure out what works and what will not.

Weatherproof data loggers (foreground) and pendant-style light sensors (background).

After some discussion and a small scale field trial out at our Bent Creek Experimental Forest  lab we decided to go with sensors that record light intensity, temperature, relative humidity, and soil moisture.

 A data logger and sensors deployed under tree canopy in 2 of our sub plots at Dupont SF.

We are interested in teasing out just what our hemlock saplings are experiencing from season to season.  This study is concerned with getting hemlock back on the landscape after we get a handle on that pesky hemlock woolly adelgid.  What matters more to our trees?  The amount of light they are exposed to?  The competing vegetation surrounding them?  The lack (or presence) of browsing mammals?  Conditions in the soil? And so on...

A re-purposed planting pot serves as a hat to protect our precious data logger.

Our truck parked on a forest road with one of our "cut" plots in the background.

 What a great place to work and a fantastic time of year!  Which reminds me, get all your fall color updates here for optimal leaf-looking.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In the thick of it...

We have been on our hands and knees sampling vegetation in our hemlock restoration plots for the past 2 weeks.

Andy checking out the ground layer vegetation in one of our control plots.

It is amazing what you can see when you stop and look for a while.  Our treatment plots are only approximately 10 square meters in size, but contain an array of eye-catching organisms.

 Likely an eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar. 

Medeola virginiana, also called Indian cucumber root.

Two saddleback caterpillars, Acharia stimulea (I think).

The always distinctive Praying mantis.

 This parasitic wasp is Pelecinus polyturator.

What appears to be vertebrae and ribs from a snake kill.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Adelgid in the news...

Hemlock woolly adelgid is fit to print!

Mountain Xpress, a local publication out of Asheville, recently did a story on the adelgid and featured a cooperator of ours from the Hemlock Restoration Initiative.

Read the article article here and you will also hear what our very own Dr. Albert "Bud" Mayfield III had to add to the conversation.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Additional traps have just gone up...

I was back in Tennessee this week installing additional traps for walnut twig beetle.  Our funnel traps haven't yielded any beetles thus far this summer, so we are baiting fresh walnut bolts with lures in hopes of enticing the critters.  Along with lures, we attached sticky cards on each bolt so we can get an idea of just what insects we are attracting.

A black walnut bolt loaded up with walnut twig beetle lures and a sticky card.
We are throwing everything we can in suspect trees, hoping to pick up on some walnut twig beetle activity.  Last summer, we observed a real spike in beetle activity during the month of August.  We are hoping to see the same this year, if not, then we will be re-thinking our planned experiments for September and October.

One of the black walnut plantations we are working in outside of Knoxville, TN.

Monday, July 18, 2016

What's cooking this month?

Black walnut branch sections will be dipped in wax to seal in moisture.

Our lab inventory often reads like a list for a camping trip... saw, stove, propane, pot, spoon, etc.  But recently what we have been cooking in the field are small vats of paraffin wax.  We are preparing for another experiment involving the, now elusive, walnut twig beetle.  After several experiments, we have figured out that the beetles find it hard to resist a fresh, baited black walnut "bolt".  These 1-foot long branch sections, which we refer to as "bolts", come from a hazard tree that was just removed from our Bent Creek property.  Waxing the ends of these bolts assures us the most fresh sample possible. 

 Cooperators at a field site in TN hoisting a funnel trap in to a tree canopy.

Early in the month of June I was at a federal property in Tennessee setting up Lindgren funnel traps.  Yep, that small black and white thing making its way into the tree-top.  Bud and I (along with another cooperator) also deployed several sets of large, fresh bolts (3-ft sections) into about a dozen trees in and around Knoxville.  The beetles have been hard to find this year, which is good news for black walnut trees and landowners who have been affected by recent infestations, but makes running field experiments difficult.  We are hoping to pick up some activity soon for experiments we would like to initiate in September.

We will keep you posted.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bug Day at the Kent House

Great work Stacy and JoAnne! 
This is a huge annual event hosted by the USFS folks in Pineville, Louisiana.