- To provide information, methods, and guidelines to implement and evaluate ecosystem management concepts, practices, and effects on water, soil and forest resources.
- To improve knowledge, baseline data, and predictive methods that are required to evaluate effects of the atmospheric environment on forested watersheds in the southeastern U.S.
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In the densely populated southeastern U.S., forested watersheds are particularly important to drinking water supplies. Recent estimates show that southern forests deliver surface drinking water to some 48.7 million people, with streams from the mountainous Southern Appalachian region alone providing water supplies to 10 million, many of them living in major cities such as Atlanta, Georgia.
Carbon and nitrogen are always on the move. Both elements are versatile – they are constantly being converted from one form to another, and are required by all living things. “Because plants, animals, and microbes also require fixed ratios of the two elements, carbon and nitrogen’s chemical cycles are inherently linked,” says U.S. Forest Service soil scientist Jennifer Knoepp.
Trees pull water into their roots, where some of it moves up the trunk against the pull of gravity. This upward movement, which is described by the cohesion-tension theory, is possible because of the chemical nature of water. Water molecules are attracted to each other (cohesion), so just before a water molecule evaporates from the leaf’s surface, it pulls (tension) another to the surface, and so on.