33 episodes

Explore the largest forest research organization in the world alongside scientists studying, questioning, and solving some of today's most compelling forest issues. Through stories, interviews, and special series, learn what’s happening in your forests, and where those forest ecosystems might be headed.

Season 4: Afire
A 360-degree introduction to fire from a scientific standpoint. The story of how fire research shapes our landscapes and our lives.

Season 3: Women of Research
Highlighting women’s perspectives in research over the past 50 years, scientists share stories of mentors and mentorship, motherhood, rural and urban stewardship, passions for science, leadership, and beyond.

Season 2: Backcross
Chemicals and biological control can buy trees time, but they cannot completely control the non-native insects that are attacking trees that have never experienced these insects before. We need something on top of those controls, a long-term resistance.

Season 1: Balance & Barrier
More than 450 non-native insects have invaded our forests and urban trees since European settlement. Come explore four of these insects, and the scientists studying and combating these pests.

A Window of Resurgence for Red Spruce:
In the 1970s, red spruce was the forest equivalent of a canary in the coal mine, signaling that acid rain was damaging forests and that some species—especially red spruce—ere particularly sensitive to this human induced damage. In the course of studying the lingering effects of acid rain, scientists came up with a surprising result—decades later, the canary is feeling much better.

The Two-Sided Story of Periodical Cicadas:
Two scientists—one who’s tracked the aboveground movements of cicadas, and another who’s unearthed the belowground impact of these insects—take you inside the many mysteries and forgotten elements of these evolutionary enigmas.

Flying the Nuthatch Home:
Once spanning nearly 6 million acres in Missouri's Ozarks, the shortleaf pine and oak woodland ecosystem has dwindled to 100,000 acres today. Along with the loss of this habitat, a bird—the brown-headed nuthatch—disappeared as well. However, after decades of woodland restoration, the brown-headed nuthatch has returned to Missouri—by plane.

Discover more at fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast

What started as a podcast produced by the Northern Research Station focusing on the Northeast and Midwest has now expanded to cover a wide range of forest topics from across USDA Forest Service Research and Development.

Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast.

Forestcast USDA Forest Service

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 74 Ratings

Explore the largest forest research organization in the world alongside scientists studying, questioning, and solving some of today's most compelling forest issues. Through stories, interviews, and special series, learn what’s happening in your forests, and where those forest ecosystems might be headed.

Season 4: Afire
A 360-degree introduction to fire from a scientific standpoint. The story of how fire research shapes our landscapes and our lives.

Season 3: Women of Research
Highlighting women’s perspectives in research over the past 50 years, scientists share stories of mentors and mentorship, motherhood, rural and urban stewardship, passions for science, leadership, and beyond.

Season 2: Backcross
Chemicals and biological control can buy trees time, but they cannot completely control the non-native insects that are attacking trees that have never experienced these insects before. We need something on top of those controls, a long-term resistance.

Season 1: Balance & Barrier
More than 450 non-native insects have invaded our forests and urban trees since European settlement. Come explore four of these insects, and the scientists studying and combating these pests.

A Window of Resurgence for Red Spruce:
In the 1970s, red spruce was the forest equivalent of a canary in the coal mine, signaling that acid rain was damaging forests and that some species—especially red spruce—ere particularly sensitive to this human induced damage. In the course of studying the lingering effects of acid rain, scientists came up with a surprising result—decades later, the canary is feeling much better.

The Two-Sided Story of Periodical Cicadas:
Two scientists—one who’s tracked the aboveground movements of cicadas, and another who’s unearthed the belowground impact of these insects—take you inside the many mysteries and forgotten elements of these evolutionary enigmas.

Flying the Nuthatch Home:
Once spanning nearly 6 million acres in Missouri's Ozarks, the shortleaf pine and oak woodland ecosystem has dwindled to 100,000 acres today. Along with the loss of this habitat, a bird—the brown-headed nuthatch—disappeared as well. However, after decades of woodland restoration, the brown-headed nuthatch has returned to Missouri—by plane.

Discover more at fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast

What started as a podcast produced by the Northern Research Station focusing on the Northeast and Midwest has now expanded to cover a wide range of forest topics from across USDA Forest Service Research and Development.

Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast.

    Afire: Understanding Fire

    Afire: Understanding Fire

    Fire is a form all of its own, but a simple way to understand fire is as a swarm. A swarm of bees. Or starlings. Or mosquitos. A spreading fire is a swarm of ignitions, a series of small fires over and over. 
    Season 4 of Forestcast is a series of fires, a series of voices. It’s a 360-degree introduction to fire from a scientific standpoint. The story of how fire research shapes our landscapes, and our lives.
    Through kaleidoscoping voices from across the country, listeners will be taken inside the largest forest research organization in the world to hear from seventeen scientists on what they know, and don’t know, about one of the most complex elements in nature—fire.
    In episode one, hear from research mechanical engineer, Sara McAllister, on the process of ignition; spatial fire analyst, Greg Dillon, on the timeline of fire management and research in the Forest Service; and research forester, Dan Dey, on the history of fire: where it was, where it’s been, and what can be done knowing its history?
    Related Research:
    Understanding Wildfire as a Dynamic System: A New Comprehensive Book on Wildland Fire Behavior (2023) New In-flame Flammability Testing Method Applied to Monitor Seasonal Changes in Live Fuel(2023) The Wildfire Crisis Strategy: How it Started, How it’s Going, and How RMRS Science Contributes (2023) Prescribed Fire for Upland Oaks (2023) Fire in Eastern Oak Forests—A Primer (2022) The North American Tree-Ring Fire-Scar Network (2022) Scientists:
    Sara McAllister, Research Mech. Engineer, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, Montana Greg Dillon, Spatial Fire Analyst, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, Montana Dan Dey, Research Forester, Northern Research Station, Columbia, Missouri Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Connect with Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov
    This episode, we used the following archival recordings:
    The Fires of 1910 [National Wildfire Coordinating Group] Forest Service Officials Testify on Wildfire Management [C-SPAN] The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film [USDA Forest Service] 1950s Smokey the Bear P.S.A.s [USDA Forest Service] Suppression of Fires in Natl. Parks & Forests [C-SPAN] The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1988-07-27) [AAPB] The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1988-09-13) [AAPB] Harry Gisborne Oral History Project [U of Montana] Up In Flames: A History of Fire Fighting in the Forest [Forest History Society] Higgins Ridge [Montana PBS] Learning from the Experts: Richard Rothermel [Wildland Fire LLC] U.S. House of Representatives House Session (2009-03-26) [C-SPAN] The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (2000-08-07) [AAPB] Wildfire Crisis Strategy 2022 [USDA Forest Service] President Biden Signs Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill [C-SPAN]

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Afire: Understanding Fire Differently

    Afire: Understanding Fire Differently

    Indigenous tribes gained their unique understanding of fire, and the role of fire on the landscape, long before European settlers came to what is now called North America. Since then, the relationship between federal fire management and indigenous perspectives has often been one of misunderstanding and mistrust. On Episode 2 of "Afire," join Forest Service scientists, Frank Kanawha Lake, a tribal descendant, and Serra Hoagland, a tribal member, as they explain the ways in which Forest Service fire research is collaborating with tribes to jointly strive to better understand and manage fire.
    Related Research:
    Partnering in Research About Land Management with Tribal Nations—Insights from the Pacific West (2023) Wildlife Stewardship on Tribal Lands (2023) Using Culturally Significant Birds to Guide the Timing of Prescribed Fires in the Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion (2023) Prescribed Fire Reduces Insect Infestation in Karuk and Yurok Acorn Resource Systems (2022) Getting More Fire on the Ground: Landscape-Scale Prescribed Burning Supported by Science (2022) Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Mexican Spotted Owl hHabitat in the Southwestern US (2022) An Assessment of American Indian Forestry Research, Information Needs, and Priorities (2022) Revitalized Karuk and Yurok Cultural Burning to Enhance California Hazelnut for Basketweaving in Northwestern California, USA (2021) Indigenous Fire Stewardship: Federal/Tribal Partnerships for Wildland Fire Research and Management (2021) The Importance of Indigenous Cultural Burning in Forested Regions of the Pacific West, USA (2021) Is Fire “For the Birds”? How Two Rare Species Influence Fire Management Across the US (2019) Indigenous Fire Stewardship (2019) Integration of Traditional and Western Knowledge in Forest Landscape Restoration (2018) Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Western Science for Optimal Natural Resource Management (2017) Tribal Lands Provide Forest Management Laboratory for Mainstream University Students (2017) Scientists:
    Frank Kanawha Lake, Research Ecologist, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Arcata, California Serra Hoagland, National Program Lead for Tribal Research, Missoula, Montana Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Connect with Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov

    • 48 min
    Afire: Understanding Different Fire

    Afire: Understanding Different Fire

    Prescribed fire plays a vital role in creating healthy landscapes that better survive natural and human-caused disturbances, while reducing wildfire risk to communities, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources. Episode 3 of "Afire" highlights three scientists and partnerships that are attempting to better understand and utilize prescribed fire.
    From Georgia, ecologist Joe O’Brien explains how researchers and forest managers are forming unique meetings that spark fresh ideas and advancements in prescribed burning across the South. In California, forester David Weise begins research into the processes related to pyrolysis to better estimate how prescribed burning affects people. And, in Arkansas, forestry technician Virginia McDaniel recounts a decades-long story of prescribed fire fortifying an ecosystem and an endangered woodpecker.
    Related Research:
    Prescribed Fire Science: The Case for a Refined Research Agenda (2020) Comparing Two Methods to Measure Oxidative Pyrolysis Gases in a Wind Tunnel and in Prescribed Burns (2022) Comparison of Pyrolysis of Live Wildland Fuels Heated by Radiation vs. Convection (2020) A Project to Measure and Model Pyrolysis to Improve Prediction of Prescribed Fire Behavior (2018) Particulate & Trace Gas Emissions from Prescribed Burns in Southeastern U.S. (2015) Diversity Explodes with Another Boring Burn with USDA Forest Service’s Virginia McDaniel (2023) Pine-Bluestem Literature Review (2013) Renewal of the Shortleaf Pine-Bluestem Grass Ecosystem (2010) Scientists:
    Joe O'Brien, Research Ecologist, Southern Research Station, Athens, Georgia David Weise, Research Forester, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Riverside, California Virginia McDaniel, Forestry Technician, Southern Research Station, Hot Springs, Arkansas Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Contact Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov

    • 51 min
    Afire: Fire Weather, Wind & Smoke

    Afire: Fire Weather, Wind & Smoke

    From whipping winds that fan flames to swirling smoke that obscures visibility, fire weather is a complex phenomenon. In Episode 4 of "Afire," hear from three meteorologists at the intersection of the intricate relationships between fire weather, wind, and smoke. 

    Brian Potter explains how large-scale atmospheric patterns, like extended dry periods before a wildfire, may contribute to the development of extreme fire events. Natalie Wagenbrenner discusses WindNinja, a high-resolution wind model that simulates local winds in complex terrain. And Scott Goodrick investigates the turbulent dynamics of small‑scale surface fires, as well as superfog—dense smoke-enhanced fog that can severely reduce visibility. 

    Related Research:
    National Prescribed Fire Program Review (2022) Investigating the Turbulent Dynamics of Small-Scale Surface Fires (2022) Microscale Wind Modeling: WindNinja for Fire Management (2021) Downscaling Surface Wind Predictions from Numerical Weather Prediction Models in Complex Terrain with a Mass-Consistent Wind Model (2016) A Comparison of Three Approaches for Simulating Fine-Scale Surface Winds in Support of Wildland Fire Management (Part 1) (Part 2) (2014) Smoke 101 & Differences Between Wildfire and Prescribed Fire Smoke in the Western U.S. (2024) Fire Behaviour and Smoke Modelling: Model Improvement and Measurement Needs for Next-Generation Smoke Research and Forecasting Systems (2019) Laboratory and Numerical Modeling of the Formation of Superfog from Wildland Fires (2019) On the Formation and Persistence of Superfog in Woodland Smoke (2009) Scientists:
    Brian Potter, Research Meteorologist, Seattle, Washington Natalie Wagenbrenner, Research Meteorologist, Missoula, Montana Scott Goodrick, Research Meteorologist, Athens, Georgia Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Contact Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov

    • 58 min
    Afire: Fire Effects Above and Belowground

    Afire: Fire Effects Above and Belowground

    Fire affects forests above and belowground. Travel along on a multiscale journey from forest-wide influences to molecular-level changes, unraveling the knowns and unknowns of fire effects on soil, vegetation, and carbon. 

    Sharon Hood explains how fire affects tree mortality, tracing the pivotal role of carbohydrates in a tree's post-fire survival. Dexter Strother investigates the production and persistence of black carbon in soils, shedding light on its potential climate implications. Matt Dickinson shares innovative techniques for measuring belowground heat transfer during fires, and unveils the intricate effects on soil nutrients and microbial life.


    Related Research:
    Long-term Efficacy of Fuel Reduction and Restoration Treatments in Northern Rockies Dry Forests (2024) Nonstructural Carbohydrates Explain Post-fire Tree Mortality and Recovery Patterns (2024) How Effective are Landscape Scale Fuel Treatments? (2023)  Understanding Post-fire Tree Mortality: Resources & Research  Lubrecht Fire-Fire Surrogate Study  Fire Exclusion Reduces A‐horizon Thickness in a Long‐term Prescribed Fire Experiment in Spodosols of Northern Florida, USA (2023)  Canopy-derived Fuels Drive Patterns of In-fire Energy Release and Understory Plant Mortality in a Longleaf Pine Sandhill in Northwest Florida, USA (2016)  Soil Heating in Fires: Process, Measurement, and Effects (2023) Soil Heating in Fire (SheFire): A Model and Measurement Method for Estimating Soil Heating and Effects During Wildland Fires (2022) Beyond "Fire Temperatures": Calibrating Thermocouple Probes and Modeling Their Response to Surface Fires in Hardwood Fuels (2008)  Temperature-Dependent Rate Models of Vascular Cambium Cell Mortality (2004) Scientists:
    Sharon Hood, Research Ecologist, Missoula, Montana Dexter Strother, Research Ecologist, Athens, Georgia Matt Dickinson, Research Ecologist, Delaware, Ohio Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Contact Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov

    • 51 min
    Afire: Fire Ignition, Mitigation & Recovery in the WUI

    Afire: Fire Ignition, Mitigation & Recovery in the WUI

    Fire shapes landscapes and lives, but how do humans shape fire? By measuring wildfire ignition, mitigation, and recovery, as well as the wildland-urban interface—where houses meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation—scientists are uncovering the complex dynamics between wildfire and human behavior. 

    Research social scientist, Miranda Mockrin, sheds light on the rapidly growing wildland-urban interface and the challenges it poses for fire management and community resilience. Research forester, Jeff Kline, delves into private landowners' behavior in central Oregon, and the surprising insights into their awareness of fire risks and the factors influencing their mitigation actions. Kline also investigates the various ways humans cause wildfires across the Pacific Northwest, and what can be done with that data.



    Related Research:
    Changes to Rural Migration in the COVID-19 Pandemic (2024) Rising Wildfire Risk to Houses in the US, Especially in Grasslands and Shrublands (2023) The Global Wildland–Urban Interface (2023) Tale of Two Fires: Retreat and Rebound a Decade After Wildfires in California and South Carolina (2022) After the fire: Perceptions of Land Use Planning to Reduce Wildfire Risk in Eight Communities Across the United States (2020) Where Wildfires Destroy Buildings in the U.S. Relative to the WUI and National Fire Outreach Programs (2018) Sprawling & Diverse: The Changing U.S. Population and Implications for Public Lands in the 21st Century (2018) Rebuilding and New Housing Development After Wildfire (2015) Adapting to Wildfire: Rebuilding After Home Loss (2015) The Wildland Urban Interface Fire Problem (2008) Wildfire Strikes Home!: The Report of the National Wildland/Urban Fire Protection Conference (1987) The Influence of Socioeconomic Factors on Human Wildfire Ignitions in the Pacific Northwest, USA (2023) Spatial Wildfire Occurrence Data for the United States, 1992-2020 (2022) Examining the Influence of Biophysical Conditions on Wildland-Urban Interface Homeowners' Wildfire Risk Mitigation Activities in Fire-Prone Landscapes (2017) A Conceptual Framework for Coupling the Biophysical and Social Dimensions of Wildfire to Improve Fireshed Planning and Risk Mitigation (2015)  Scientists:
    Miranda Mockrin, Research Social Scientist, Baltimore, Maryland Jeff Kline, Research Forester, Corvallis, Oregon Forestcast is an official USDA Forest Service podcast, and is produced by USDA Forest Service Research and Development.
    Want more information? Visit us at https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/multimedia/forestcast
    Questions or ideas for the show? Contact Jon at jonathan.yales@usda.gov

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

camocarmelcamel ,

Scientific, detailed, fun

Great listen for anyone, from the curious to the professionals.

angvisleit ,

Very Informative!

I recently started to notice all of the dead ash trees where I live in Wisconsin. This podcast gave me a good understanding of what’s going on and a little bit of hope that the Ash trees do have a chance. Thanks for the great work!

Bruce just wondering ,

Not much about Forest. A disappointment.

Disappointed in this season. Not much information provided to help in management of our forest. Last year was interesting. This year off target. Not about forest research. It is about the researchers. Not helpful.

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