The Center for Forest Disturbance Science

The Center for Forest Disturbance Science is a research project of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station focused on the study of disturbance processes across scales and their risk of occurrence in order to develop innovative management strategies for reducing vulnerability of ecosystems to degradation.

News & Events

  • Where to Grow Woody Bioenergy Crops? by Sarah Farmer, SRS Science Communications  •  June 21, 2018 Demand for bioenergy is expected to grow – as much as 10 times larger than present. Woody crops such as poplar or ...
    Posted Jul 3, 2018, 8:23 AM by S.H. Mou
  • 2018 ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems Marcus and Dr. Marguerite Madden accepting the certificate.Marcus Williams, research meteorologist, and Christie Hawley, forest technician, with the Center For Forest Disturbance Science and their partners with the University ...
    Posted Mar 1, 2018, 6:36 AM by S.H. Mou
  • Don’t Forget the Soil Fauna State of the science and call to action by Mim Ra Aslaoui, Science Communications Intern  •  July 27, 2017 When U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station research ecologist Mac Callaham ...
    Posted Jul 27, 2017, 12:28 PM by S.H. Mou
  • Drier Weather, Drier Fuels Warmer Weather and its Implications for Fire and Fuel Moisture by Sarah Farmer, SRS Science Communications  •  June 29, 2017 Prescribed fires are only conducted when weather conditions are safest. If ...
    Posted Jun 29, 2017, 10:57 AM by S.H. Mou
  • Forest ThreatNet Volume 11, Issue 1 - January/February 2017                        Hands-On Workshops Explore Management for Climate Adaptation The U.S. Forest Service recently sponsored a two-day workshop in Atlanta, GA, to ...
    Posted Mar 6, 2017, 10:43 AM by S.H. Mou
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 22. View more »


Why fire is good (But you still shouldn't start a forest fire) stars members of the Fire Science Team of the CFDS.

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric Science

The Atmospheric Science Team studies atmospheric aspects of forest disturbance such as fire-atmosphere interactions, smoke management, climate change and wind damage to forests. 

Fire Science




The Fire Science Team specializes in studying fire behavior and ecology in the southeastern US and tropical and subtropical ecosystems.

Restoration & Invasive Species

Restoration & Invasive Species

The Restoration and Invasive Species Team focuses on management practices to restore fire dependent ecosystems of the southeastern U.S. We also study the impacts of non-native invasive species, and work to mitigate the risks associated with these organisms through development of new management practices.


To learn more of the IUFRO blog -- access the following link. Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change – Asian and Oceania Perspectives

In the first presentation, John Stanturf (US Forest Service) explained the potential benefits that forest landscape restoration can have on mitigating as well as adapting to climate change. These included aspects such as diverse species and structures at stand scale; age classes of tree vegetation at landscape scale and connectivity.

Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium

Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium

Visit the Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium's website at http://shrmc.ggy.uga.edu/index.php . The website provides forecasts and maps.

Recent Publications

  • TransformationalRestoration.pdf   2420k - Mar 1, 2018, 7:26 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Transformational restoration can play a key role in adaptation to climate change but it is conceptually the most divergent from contemporary approaches favoring native species and natural disturbance regimes. Here, we review concepts of novelty in ecosystems with examples of emergent/neonative and designed novel ecosystems, with application to transformational restoration. ‎
  • B&B_ja_2017_obrien_001.pdf   340k - May 11, 2017, 11:08 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) is an important crop grown throughout Florida. Currently, most blueberry growers use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) to provide pollination services for highbush blueberries even though bumble bees (Bombus spp.) have been shown to be more efficient at pollinating blueberries on a per bee basis. In general, contribution of bumble bees to the pollination of commercial highbush blueberries in Florida is unknown. Herein, we determined if managed bumble bees could contribute to highbush blueberry pollination. There were four treatments in this study: two treatments of caged commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) colonies (low and high weight hives), a treatment excluding all pollinators, and a final treatment which allowed allpollinators (managed and wild pollinators) in the area have access to the plot. All treatments were located within a highbush blueberry field containing two cultivars of blooming plants, ‘Emerald’ and ‘Millennia’, with each cage containing 16 mature blueberry plants. We gathered data on fruit set, berry weight, and number of seeds produced per berry. When pollinators were excluded, fruit set was significantly lower in both cultivars (<8%) compared to that in all of the other treatments (>58%). Berry weight was not significantly different among the treatments, and the number of seeds per berry did not show a clear response. This study emphasizes the importance of bumble bees as an effective pollinator of blueberries and the potential beneficial implications of the addition of bumble bees in commercial blueberry greenhouses or high tunnels.‎
  • Observations of energy transport and rate of spreads from low-intensity fires in longleaf pine habitat – RxCADRE 2012   0k - Jan 8, 2016, 6:05 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎B. Butler, C. Teske, D. Jimenez, J. O'Brien, P. Sopko, C. Wold, M. Vosburgh, B. Hornsby and E. Loudermilk Measurements of fire intensity, flame geometry and rate of spread using several methods are compared. Measurement uncertainty and variability are explored.‎
  • Measurements, datasets and preliminary results from the RxCADRE project – 2008, 2011 and 2012   0k - Jan 8, 2016, 6:03 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Roger D. Ottmar, J. Kevin Hiers, Bret W. Butler, Craig B. Clements, Matthew B. Dickinson, Andrew T. Hudak, Joseph J. O'Brien, Brian E. Potter, Eric M. Rowell, Tara M. Strand and Thomas J. Zajkowski The Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment (RxCADRE) provides integrated, quality-assured fuel, meteorology, fire behaviour, energy, smoke emissions and fire effect datasets to evaluate fire models and inform wildland fire combustion theory. This overview paper summarises the RxCADRE project and the nine companion papers associated with data collection.‎
  • Stanturf, John A.; Goodrick, Scott L.; Warren, Melvin L.; Charnley, Susan; Stegall, Christie M. 2015. Social vulnerability and Ebola virus disease in rural Liberia. PLOS ONE. 10(9): e0137208-. 14 p. 10.1371/journal.pone.0137208   0k - Sep 10, 2015, 5:42 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎The Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic that has stricken thousands of people in the three West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea highlights the lack of adaptive capacity in post-conflict countries. The scarcity of health services in particular renders these populations vulnerable to multiple interacting stressors including food insecurity, climate change, and the cascading effects of disease epidemics such as EVD. However, the spatial distribution of vulnerable rural populations and the individual stressors contributing to their vulnerability are unknown. We developed a Social Vulnerability Classification using census indicators and mapped it at the district scale for Liberia. According to the Classification, we estimate that districts having the highest social vulnerability lie in the north and west of Liberia in Lofa, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, and Bomi Counties. Three of these counties together with the capital Monrovia and surrounding Montserrado and Margibi counties experienced the highest levels of EVD infections in Liberia. Vulnerability has multiple dimensions and a classification developed from multiple variables provides a more holistic view of vulnerability than single indicators such as food insecurity or scarcity of health care facilities. Few rural Liberians are food secure and many cannot reach a medical clinic in <80 minutes. Our results illustrate how census and household survey data, when displayed spatially at a subcounty level, may help highlight the location of the most vulnerable households and populations. Our results can be used to identify vulnerability hotspots where development strategies and allocation of resources to address the underlying causes of vulnerability in Liberia may be warranted. We demonstrate how social vulnerability index approaches can be applied in the context of disease outbreaks, and our methods are relevant elsewhere.‎
  • 6. Waldrop, Thomas A., ed. 2104. Proceedings: Wildland fire in the Appalachians: discussions among fire managers and scientists. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-199. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 206 p.   0k - Aug 18, 2015, 9:14 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Many challenges face fire managers and scientists in the Appalachian Mountains because of the region’s diverse topography and limited research supporting prescribed burning. This conference was designed to promote communication among managers, researchers, and other interested parties. These proceedings contain 30 papers and abstracts that describe ongoing research, successful technology transfer, and management tools for planning prescribed fires. Five categories of papers include ecology of plants and plant communities, wildlife ecology, fire history and fire effects, tools for forest management, and manager-scientist success stories. ‎
  • PredictingFire24_380-390.pdf   946k - Aug 18, 2015, 9:03 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Yang, J., Weisberg, P.J., Dilts, T., Loudermilk, E.L., Scheller, R.M., Stanton, A., Skinner, C. 2015. Predicting wildfire occurrence distribution with spatial point process models and its uncertainty assessment: A case study in the Lake Tahoe Basin, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 24: 380-390.‎
  • Laarmann_et_al-2015-Restoration_Ecology.pdf   846k - Apr 30, 2015, 9:18 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎Laarmann, Diana; Korjus, Henn; Sims, Allan; Kangur, Ahto; Kiviste, Andres; Stanturf, John A. 2015. Evaluation of afforestation development and natural colonization on a reclaimed mine site. Restoration Ecology, 23(3): 301-309.‎
  • De Steven, Diane; Schweitzer, Callie J.; Hughes, Steven C.; Stanturf, John A. 2015. Afforesting agricultural lands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (USA): effects of silvicultural methods on the understory plant diversity. In Proceedings of the 17th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. e–Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–203. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 7 p.   0k - Apr 23, 2015, 8:06 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎To compare methods for bottomland hardwood reforestation on marginal farmlands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, four afforestation treatments (natural colonization, sown oak acorns, planted oak seedlings, cottonwood–oak interplant) were established in 1995 on former soybean cropland. Natural, sown, and planted-oak plots were not managed after establishment. Interplant plots received intensive management including two seasons of weed-control disking between planted cottonwoods, after which oaks were interplanted. Previous work found that forest canopy development was accelerated by interplanting; however, the best methods for establishing trees could have different effects on forest community diversity. Multi-year data on understory plant composition were analyzed to determine if less intensive methods promoted greater diversity. Ground-layer vegetation was sampled annually from 1996 to 1998, and again in 2006. Only total biomass was affected by afforestation technique, with the greatest declines in the interplant treatment. Changes in all species composition measures were a function of successional time. Although diversity did not vary substantially with reforestation method, lack of hydrologic restoration favored an understory flora more typical of moist old-fields than natural floodplain forests.‎
  • Stanturf, John A.; Palik, Brian J.; Dumroese, R. Kasten. 2014. Contemporary forest restoration: A review emphasizing function. Forest Ecology and Management. 331: 292-323.   0k - Apr 23, 2015, 8:05 AM by S.H. Mou (v1)
    ‎The forest restoration challenge (globally 2 billion ha) and the prospect of changing climate with increasing frequency of extreme events argues for approaching restoration from a functional and landscape perspective. Because the practice of restoration utilizes many techniques common to silviculture, no clear line separates ordinary forestry practices from restoration. The distinction may be that extra-ordinary activities are required in the face of degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems.‎
Showing 10 files from page Publications.