U.S. Forest Service R&D Newsletter - November 2017
News from the Washington Office and Research Stations

In a study that examined forest attributes across 1.2 million acres along California's Sierra Nevada, researchers found that the height of tree canopies best predicts spotted owl habitat, not canopy density as was previously thought. This new revelation may help relieve land managers of some concern over creating canopy gaps and enable them to more effectively manage forest densities for wildfire and drought resistance.
A recent study found that forest cover saves costs for water suppliers by reducing sediment and total organic carbon in drinking water sources. Increasing forest cover by just 1 percent in the study watershed decreased turbidity by about 3 percent.
Researchers discovered that bats' wings may be as unique as human fingerprints. Even when damaged, the wings heal in their pattern. If widely applied, bat wings would be an easily employable identification system for bats.
A research team installed a high-tech flooring prototype at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that harvests the energy of footsteps and converts them into electricity. The wood pulp that makes up the flooring is chemically treated to produce an electrostatic charge that turns these floors into renewable energy sources.
After a hurricane, damaged trees pose numerous hazards. Consult a professional arborist as soon as possible if you see: new cracks, major roots severed or broken, partial uprooting, new tree lean, large limbs broken, or damage to most of the tree's crown.
Two new reports detail the economic patterns of National Forest visitors. One report delves into the spending patterns of visitors, while the other estimates the economic benefits of recreation.
The Climate Hubs just launched a new portal that allows stakeholders to quickly and easily find information for managing risks posed by a changing climate.
Ever wonder about the origins of the Forest Service’s Research and Development branch and its relationship with the National Forest System? A new book offers an insightful history of the origins of forestry and ecology and their development within the young U.S. Forest Service.

For more information and a review of the book Money Trees: The Douglas Fir and American Forestry, 1900-1944 by Emily Brock, contact agency historian Lincoln Bramwell, lbramwell@fs.fed.us
Photos prove that Western forests were historically patchier and less dense than today's forests. Land and fire management practices increased the density of these forests. But along with these denser forests came larger and potentially more destructive megafires. Restoring natural forest patchiness could also help restore natural fire regimes.
Recent Blogs
Historical insight into Dutch elm disease and American elm.
New research is demonstrating a positive correlation between trees and public safety.