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Forestry

Explore the Science Behind the Magic of Fall Colors

Ashville DC House
Fall colors from a terrace of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. The Pisgah National Forest is in the background. Photo by Robert Westover.

With a pandemic raging around the world, drastically altering so many lives, it’s hard to believe that any good can come from such chaos.

Connecting Veterans with the Lands for which they Fought

Millions visit America’s public lands every year to have fun and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. In fact, spending time in nature can be truly restorative and research shows that nature and green spaces have a positive effect on human health and wellbeing. Veterans, especially, may benefit from nature-based therapies on public lands to relieve stress and symptoms of trauma endured during their time in service.

Trillion Trees: Reducing Wildfire Risk, Protecting People and Wildlife

An opaque, autumn haze smothers much of the western United States from the millions of acres burning across forests in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. Fire size and severity are rising in tandem with record heat, low winter snowpack, decreased summer rains, and abundant forest fuels. Wildfires in the West doubled in total size between 2000-2015 compared to the previous 15 years, burning an average 6.8 million acres annually in the last decade. This trend has wide-ranging consequences on the health and productivity of our national forests, our drinking water supplies, and wildlife habitat.

An Important Action to Take: Check Your Trees!

Did you know that USDA has declared August as Tree Check Month? That’s because August is the peak time of year to spot the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB)—an invasive wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in North America, such as maples, elms, horse chestnuts, birches and willows. Checking trees for the beetle and the damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help USDA’s efforts to eliminate this pest from the United States.

Promoting Pollinators with Agroforestry

Plant pollination by animals is critical for healthy ecosystems and an estimated 85% of the world’s flowering plants depend on animals, mostly insects, like bees, for pollination.

Shared Stewardship Project Protects Mountaintop Village

Just outside of Coronado National Forest in southeastern Arizona, the mountaintop village of Summerhaven can breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks to the cooperation of the Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the State of Arizona through shared stewardship, Summerhaven was able to avoid the devastation of the Bighorn Fire, which burned nearly 120,000 acres.

Innovative Finance Model Accelerates Forest Restoration

The USDA Forest Service manages 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, 58 million of which are in need of restoration. Forest Service scientist are doing this by thinning and conducting prescribed burning that restores natural tree density, improves forest health and mitigates wildfire risk.