New study: Regeneration and microclimate patterns in a structurally diverse ponderosa pine forest

Forest restoration treatments in ponderosa pine forests of the western US emphasize creation and maintenance of complex forest spatial pattern. Patterns of canopy cover and light can alter microclimate and impact seedling germination and growth. We studied fine-scale abiotic conditions and seedling dynamics for 3 years in a dry conifer forests near Denver, Colorodo. We found that canopy cover was important for mitigating extreme conditions, but that survival of all species was greatest in warm dry microclimates.

New study: Protecting planted longleaf pine from severe winds

moderate damage to longleaf pine forest in southwest Georgia

Planted stands of longleaf pine contribute to landscape-scale restoration of the ecosystem and the imperiled species it harbors. Yet frequent severe winds from hurricanes occur throughout its range. We surveyed planted stands of longleaf pine in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. We found that damage increased with forest fragmentation and stands with increased taper were most resistant

Can off-site native pines accelerate longleaf pine restoration?

Meeting the pace and scale of longleaf pine restoration may require innovative solutions. Restoration of longleaf pine woodlands often starts with removal of native pines, prior to re-establishing longleaf pine. Here, we review functional similarities among native, off-site pines such as loblolly, slash, and shortleaf have enough functional similarity. We found that native-off site species may be a useful tool for providing many of the ecological benefits especially if their retention permits unterrupted management with fire and open structure.

New study: Hurricanes boost reproduction in longleaf pine

longleaf pine cones

Using long-term records of longleaf pine cone production, hurricane tracks, and weather data, a new study has uncovered that hurricanes can boost cone production for two years in the masting species, longleaf pine. The study was led by the Jones Center and the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and published in the journal New Phytologist.

New study: Patterns of hurricane gaps in a longleaf pine landscape

longleaf pine and slash pine trees toppled by hurricane michael

Ecological approaches to forestry seek to emulate aspects of natural disturbances like hurricanes which are a common disturbance in longleaf pine forets. This study used airborne lidar to measure patterns of hurricane-created gaps to offer guidance for application of natural disturbance-based management in landscapes dominated by longleaf pine.

PNAS: New study defines hurricane regimes for North American forests

Forest hurricane regimes defined for North America

Hurricanes are a chronic disturbance to many forests. but currently no study defines hurricane regimes for North America. This study uses hurricane models and long-term data to define four distinct hurricane regimes for the region, and discusses how hurricanes may be a useful lens for understanding the distribution of tree species and their traits.

New study: Longleaf pine woodlands increase streamflow during droughts

Jones Center researcher Dr. Seth Younger found that longleaf pine woodlands increase water yeidl during droughts. The study looked at 21 rural watersheds with varying levels of longleaf pine cover and found that those with high longleaf pine cover had 17% higher stream flow than those with low cover. The increase was even higher during critical drought periods, highlighting how longleaf pine restoration can improve conservation outcomes on land and in streams.

New study: Longleaf pine resilience after Hurricane Michael

A new study led by University of Florida and Landscape Ecology lab alumnus Cody Pope was published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management. The study examined growth of longleaf pine and associated oak saplings for 2 years after hurricane Michael, and found that canopy removal may benefit longleaf pine over competing oak species, indicating that hurricanes may reinforce and stabilize longleaf pine dominace in frequent-fire forests.

New study: Measuring complex forests with airborne lidar

A recent study from the Landscape Ecology lab led by Andy Whelan explores a new approach to improve large-scale measurements of forest structure using lidar. The study explored the use of “volumetric pixels” (or voxels) which have shown promise for forest measurement. The technique led to accurate estimates of wood volume, even when forest composition was unknown.