World Soil Day

Everyday we benefit from soil but we take its existence and necessity for granted. Soil is critical for the environment and life on this planet. I was remiss in getting this post up for World Soil Day, which was December 5th, however the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared 2015 to be…

White Pine Predicament-Tree Diseases

White pine (Pinus strobus) is a critical member of eastern forests, ecologically and economically. There are currently 3 tree diseases threatening the health and sustainability of white pine co-dominant forest systems. The first affliction facing white pines is white pine blister rust (WPBR); introduced in the 1900s this disease continues to seriously threaten forest and…

Stewardship Significance

With so many threats currently facing our nation’s forests; climate change, invasive species, urban and suburban sprawl, pests, disease, fire or lack thereof, etc., effective landscape stewardship is more necessary than ever, it is especially critical in Northeast and Midwestern states. This region is home to nearly half of the country’s population and 43% of forested…

Citizen Scientists Outsmart Invasives

Outsmart is a smartphone application developed by collaborative efforts of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia. This application aims to connect the public with detailed information about invasive plants and animals in their area. The ultimate…

Forest Service Funding

In a vast show of support for reforestation to improve water quality and watershed health, the US Forest Service has awarded $1.75 million to fund projects across 5 states which will mitigate Emerald Ash Borer damage and restore urban forest cover among other goals. Forest Service Northeastern Area Service Director, Tony Ferguson agrees that there…

Advantageous Ammendments

Adding charcoal or “biochar” to soil can boost soil’s water holding capacity and reduce the need for fertilizers, which is well-known in the agricultural industry but as of yet has not caught on in the horticultural realm and growth media industry. Research, led by growth media company  Fafard & Frères, in Quebec, suggests that biochar…

Habitat Help II

In an effort to keep the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) off the endangered species list the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sees habitat conservation as the key, this means preserving the sage-steppe ecosystem in order to keep their numbers up. Sage brush is the dominant species in the sage-steppe ecosystem and is the most…

Beneficial Burning

There are several ecosystem types which require fire for regeneration as well as those which, after years of fire exclusion (thanks to the success and influence of Smokey the Bear) have become unhealthy and pose a wildfire threat due to the fuel load build up. Stands of trees will become stressed by overcrowding, species dependent…

Goldenseal Sparcity

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family native to the United States, widely desired for its uses as a medicinal herb. Its natural range extends from Quebec to northern Georgia and west to Missouri. Goldenseal is an herbaceous perennial which can be found growing in rich, densely-shaded deciduous forests. Demand for…

Veteran's Day Venture

As part of the observance of Veteran’s Day the USDA and Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced that they will be funding job and training opportunities this year for over 300 veterans and youths to go to work improving our nation’s natural and historic resources. This effort is a show of continuing support of…