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Forestry

Trees and Shrubs Protect Crops and Generate Income for Farmers

Across the United States, farmers are taking innovative approaches to foster environmental stewardship and economic viability through a common conservation practice called the riparian forest buffer. Supporting production while enhancing conservation is an important goal of both US Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB) and of the USDA Forest Service. Agroforestry, the intentional integration of trees and crops and/or livestock to meet economic, conservation, and social goals, is one strategy that offers many innovative “productive conservation” options, including riparian buffers.

Forest Service Research Reduces Fire Danger in Chernobyl Contaminated Zone

In April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded and heavily contaminated nearly 40,000 square miles with radioisotopes. The contaminated area became known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine and the Polesie Radioecological Reserve in Belarus. Today, the site remains heavily contaminated and access is restricted primarily to staff working to stabilize the remnants of the exploded reactor.

Past, Present, and Future Research on Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, in Washington State, erupted 40 years ago today. The largest landslide in recorded history filled valleys below with debris, and ash fell from the sky for weeks, blanketing the nearby area and affecting regions as far away as the Rocky Mountains. Within just two weeks, ash from the blast had circled the globe. 57 people lost their lives and hundreds of homes, buildings and structures were destroyed.

Conservation Tools Help Producers Make Positive Impacts on Changing Climate

America’s farmers and ranchers are helping put the nation on track to a healthier and more resilient environment in the face of a changing climate. While agriculture only contributes 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it offers a variety of opportunities to reduce emissions and cut carbon from the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to help producers become even better conservation stewards by providing the tools they need to do the job.

USDA Observes the 10 Year Anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Today marks 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. USDA, through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and U.S. Forest Service, worked alongside other federal agencies to respond to this disaster and supported the Gulf of Mexico region in its prevention, preparedness and restoration efforts.

Why the Trees Outside Forests Count

Windbreaks and other agroforestry practices provide a wide range of agricultural production and conservation benefits, helping farmers and furthering the goals of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB). Windbreaks are designed to increase crop yields, reduce erosion, and improve soil health while also providing other conservation benefits like wildlife habitat.

After a Blight, the Trees that Survived Need Your Help

Humans adores trees. But humans also migrate and trade, habits that led to the accidental introduction of insects and diseases that harm trees and alter the landscape. Examples are easy to find and may be outside your front door: American elms that once dotted streets across America succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Now all colors of ash species – black, green, white, pumpkin, and blue – are threatened by emerald ash borer. The already uncommon butternut tree, also known as white walnut, faces the possibility of extinction from a mysterious attacker.