Research

Planting and Seeding Trials In The Wake Of Ash Decline

Swamp White Oak seedling planted in a black ash replacement trial. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is causing widespread mortality of both upland and lowland ash. Black ash (and to a lesser extent green ash) is a forest wetland species that helps prevent sites from swamping through evapotranspiration. With the loss of ash in these systems, forest practitioners are developing silvicultural strategies to minimize the impacts through planting and seeding trials.

Wisconsin Silviculture Trials

The Wisconsin Silviculture Trials Directory was created in 2002 for foresters to document silviculture trials and share results and experiences with their peers. It is a way of documenting non-research trials in applied forestry. A trial site often visited during training sessions is the Nebish Lake oak burn. Here a forester established an oak shelterwood in 2008, followed by a prescribed burn in 2011. The results showed that fire could set back competition while creating a favorable seedbed for oak regeneration.

Nebish Oak Shelterwood burn with comparison of the left side that was burned and right side that was not burned. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Managing For Old-Growth Forests

Old-growth forests are unique ecosystems that were historically abundant across the forested regions of Wisconsin but have now dwindled to about 1% of their original presence. Realizing the importance of old-growth forest structure and composition, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) partners initiated a study in 2004 to look at silviculture methods to maintain and enhance old-growth characteristics. The Managed Old Growth Silviculture Study (MOSS)  continues today on public lands in northern Wisconsin including the Flambeau River State Forest, the Northern Highlands – American Legion State Forest and the Argonne Experimental Forest (located within the Chequamegon – Nicolet National Forest). The main goal of this study is to develop forest management techniques that accelerate the development of structural and compositional complexity in second-growth northern hardwoods.

Wisconsin DNR forest research crew collecting old growth data. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

A forester explains the values of old growth in a Hemlock stand near Woodruff. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The Tick App: ‘Your On-the-Go Tick Expert’

By Danielle Smith, Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, UW-Madison

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University and Michigan State University have developed the TickApp, a mobile smartphone application that allows users to learn how they can protect themselves, their families and their pets from ticks—and join a team of citizen scientists helping researchers better understand ticks and tick-borne disease risk.

Adult blacklegged tick on a dead leaf.

Adult blacklegged tick

Continue reading “The Tick App: ‘Your On-the-Go Tick Expert’”

Wisconsin DNR 2020 Forest Health Annual Report

By Elly Voigt, DNR Forest Lab Technician and Communications Specialist, Eleanor.Voigt@wisconsin.gov

The cover page of the 2020 Annual ReportThe Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health team recently completed the 2020 Forest Health Annual Report. The report summarizes impacts from pests, diseases and weather on the health of Wisconsin’s forests. Highlights from 2020 include:

• An update on emerald ash borer in Wisconsin, including newly confirmed counties
• New township detections of oak wilt
• Flooding and tornado damage
• Summary of state nursery studies

For access to the report, visit the link here.

The Tick App! ‘Your Tick Expert On-The-Go!’

By Bieneke Bron, Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases, UW-Madison

Do you ever wonder why you are always finding ticks on yourself or around you, but your friends never do? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison have developed a mobile application that allows users to share their experiences with ticks to help prevent future tick bites.

Continue reading “The Tick App! ‘Your Tick Expert On-The-Go!’”

How do Wisconsin professionals use outreach materials to engage residents in urban tree care?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and UW-Madison Division of Extension (UWEX) are partnering to better understand the informational resources available to professionals who provide tree care advice and services to urban residents in Wisconsin. Using information collected from an exploratory survey in early 2019, DNR and UWEX staff plan to improve access to these resources and address additional needs by creating new resources. Next steps include identifying a place where existing and new materials can be easily accessed by all audiences.

When asked to report the most commonly discussed topics with homeowners, pests and diseases emerged as the top issue (36% of respondents) with tree planting/care/selection or tree pruning as other popular topics (20-23% of respondents respectively). While 75% of respondents say that they use verbal advice to share information with residents always or most of the time, they also identified a diverse range of topics and types of content that they would find useful when communicating with their audiences. Click this link to view the wide range of suggestions offered by survey respondents.

Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry News subscriber survey

Introduction

Providing timely and relevant information to the Wisconsin urban forestry community is a key role of the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry program. One of the ways in which this goal manifests itself is through a monthly newsletter received by 5,555 subscribers (May 2019). In order to ensure that the newsletter content is relevant and timely, the Urban Forestry program surveyed subscribers in spring 2019. Results are shown and interpreted below and suggestions made for future newsletter editions. Continue reading “Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry News subscriber survey”

Inaugural ‘Good Health Grows on Trees’ conference a success!

Whether it be a hike through the woods, time spent with your family at a local park or sitting beneath the shade of that stately red oak in your backyard, we, as urban forestry professionals and enthusiasts, experience and recognize the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of spending time outdoors in nature.

For decades, scientists have been researching and documenting the health benefits that trees and nature provide, and as urban populations continue to rise, the impact of nearby nature on human health has generated a lot of interest in our world of urban and community forestry.

To further that conversation in Wisconsin, the first ever ‘Good Health Grows on Trees: The Influence of Nearby Nature on Public Health’ conference was hosted by the DNR Urban Forestry program at the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville on May 30th.  Continue reading “Inaugural ‘Good Health Grows on Trees’ conference a success!”

Renewable energy flooring makes debut

This article is reprinted with written permission from the author.

One step closer to market: Renewable energy flooring makes debut in Union South
By Will Cushman, UW-Madison, Environmental Resources Center

As tens of thousands of visitors each day walk across a new flooring installation in UW-Madison’s Union South in fall 2017, they might not realize they’re participating in what could very well represent a leap into the future of renewable energy production.

A research team led by Xudong Wang, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of materials science and engineering, in collaboration with the UW-Madison Grainger Institute for Engineering, has installed a high-tech flooring prototype that harvests the energy of footsteps and converts it into electricity.

Continue reading “Renewable energy flooring makes debut”