Forests

If you see this bug, officials want you to kill it. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can cause millions of dollars in damage to crops and forests.

Trending Today

See a Spotted Lanternfly? Squash It, Officials Say

The invasive insect poses a huge threat to agriculture and trees in the Northeast United States

The creation of clouds over forested areas shows that reforestation would likely be more effective at cooling Earth’s atmosphere than previously thought, a Princeton study says.

Planet Positive

Planting Trees Encourages Cloud Formation—and Efficiently Cools the Planet

New study examines cooling effect of clouds produced by deciduous forests under pressures of climate change

The Maple Fire photographed burning up Jefferson Ridge in Olympic National Forest, Washington. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that men convicted of illegal logging in the National Forest may have started the Maple Fire.

Innovation for Good

For the First Time, Tree DNA Was Used to Convict Lumber Thieves in Federal Investigation

Genetic evidence showed that two men illegally chopped down and sold valuable bigleaf maple trees inside Olympic National Forest

The Algodón River flows through a forest of the Amazon Basin in the remote northeastern corner of Peru. Scientists collected and analyzed a series of ten roughly 3-foot-long soil cores from three sites, each located at least a half-mile away from river courses and floodplains.

Future of Conservation

In a Remote Amazon Region, Study Shows Indigenous Peoples Have Practiced Forest Conservation for Millennia

Smithsonian researcher Dolores Piperno says native people have always played an important role in sustainability

“Not much in my life in the natural world has made me cry, but this did,” Nate Stephenson, an ecologist at the USGS who has been studying sequoias for 40 years, tells the Chronicle. “It hit me like a ton of bricks.”

Fire Destroyed 10 Percent of World's Giant Sequoias Last Year—Can They Survive Climate Change?

A new draft report suggests between 7,500 and 10,600 of the massive trees were killed by wildfire in 2020

A ghost forest on Capers Island, South Carolina.

New Research

'Tree Farts' Raise Ghost Forests' Carbon Emissions

As sea level rise poisons woodlands with saltwater, more work is needed to understand these ecosystems' contributions to climate change

Google Earth image of a healthy forest on the lower right and a ghost forest full of dead trees on the left.

Why Ecologists Are Haunted by the Rapid Growth of Ghost Forests

A study in North Carolina of dying trees may represent a foreboding preview of what may come to coastal ecosystems worldwide

New research estimates that Brazil's Atlantic Forest has regrown 4.2 million hectares of forest since 2000.

New Research

Globally, Forests the Size of France Have Grown Back Since 2000

New research illustrates the capacity of forests to regenerate if given the chance

“We think of fire often as this destructive tool,” says lead author Jessica Thompson. “That doesn’t have to be the case.”

Cool Finds

Did Stone Age Humans Shape the African Landscape With Fire 85,000 Years Ago?

New research centered on Lake Malawi may provide the earliest evidence of people using flames to improve land productivity

Hillary Hughes, Panamanian actress, visits the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Agua Salud Project during the filming of videos in Spanish and English to share hope for the success of tropical forest reforestation informed by the largest experiment of its kind in the tropics.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch These Two Videos and You Will Feel More Hopeful About the Future of Tropical Forests

Agua Salud's new bilingual videos share the results of tropical reforestation experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama

The invasive jumping worm will thrash and snap its body when touched.

Highly Invasive Jumping Worms Have Spread to 15 States

The invertebrate depletes topsoil of nutrients and makes it difficult for fungi and plants to grow

One of the more than 100 earthen mounds preserved at the Mounds State Historic Site

Why Did Cahokia, One of North America's Largest Pre-Hispanic Cities, Collapse?

A new study challenges the theory that resource exploitation led to the Mississippian metropolis' demise

Workers felling 150-year-old oak trees in the Villefermoy forest, near Echouboulains, France, on March 15. The wood will eventually used to reconstruct Notre-Dame Cathedral's roof and spire.

Hundreds of Centuries-Old Trees Felled to Rebuild Notre-Dame's Iconic Spire

French authorities cut down some 1,000 historic oaks as part of the Paris cathedral's ambitious reconstruction process

Officials are unsure when the damage occurred but suspect that it took place several months ago.

Vandals Deface 'Irreplaceable' Native American Rock Carvings in Georgia

The unknown criminals painted the 1,000-year-old petroglyphs in bright colors and scratched their surfaces beyond recognition

New research says the United States would need to more than double its current seedling production to add 30 billion trees by 2040.

New Research

To Fight Climate Change With Trees, America Needs More Seedlings

New research estimates the U.S. would need to double production to meet its reforestation goals

Women broke the glass ceiling of fire lookout positions almost as soon as the job was established.

Women Who Shaped History

Female Fire Lookouts Have Been Saving the Wilderness for Over a Century

Spotting smoke from towers on high peaks could have been deemed 'man's work,' but a few pioneers paved the way for generations of women to do the job

Damages wrought by climate change and deforestation have transformed the Amazon rainforest. New research suggests the changes to this icon of the natural world caused by human activity may mean the Amazon now emits more greenhouse gases than it absorbs.

New Research

The Amazon Rainforest Now Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than It Absorbs

Climate change and deforestation have transformed the ecosystem into a net source of planet-warming gases instead of a carbon sink

The biodiversity map predicted that amphibians and reptiles have the most undiscovered species to date. Pictured: blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius "azureus")

This Map Shows You the Odds of Finding a New Species in Your Neighborhood

The 'Map of Life' predicts where undiscovered birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals could be found around the world

The water high in salinity slowly poisons trees, and as they die, all that is left behind are ghostly gray trunks that resemble toothpicks.

'Ghost Forests' May Become More Common as Sea Levels Rise

East Coast woodlands are left parched as brackish water encroaches on landscapes

Bryophytes in the tropics are threatened due to lack of information and research.

Smithsonian Voices

Step Into the Mossy World Where Tiny Plants Play an Outsized Role in the Environment

Bryophytes are an important part of our environment, but in the tropics, there's still much to learn about them