Open or Shut: How Trees Respond to Drought at the Leaf Level

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…  More 

Live Webinar This Friday: Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the U.S.

Title: Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis What will you learn? The presenters will discuss key messages from the recently published drought assessment. Topics to be covered include a state-of-the-science review of direct and indirect impacts of drought on forests and rangelands, as well as a…  More 

Drought, Fire, and Forests

The 2015 wildfire season was the costliest on record, with about $1.71 billion spent by the Forest Service on fighting fires. During one particular week in the summer of 2015, fire-fighting cost $1.6 million per hour. Most of the fires of 2015 hit western states like drought stricken California, where fire risk remains high due…  More 

On National Forests and Grasslands, All Droughts are not Created Equal

While some may remember 2002 as the year the United States hosted the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, celebrated A Beautiful Mind as the year’s best film, and created the Department of Homeland Security, others may remember it for another reason: drought. That year, more than half of the country was in a state…  More 

Drought, Insects, and Oak Decline

Recent research by university and U.S. Forest Service scientists suggests that the traditional sequence of events and factors involved in forest decline may be changing in relation to climate conditions. To look more closely at patterns of decline linked to drought and insect attacks, the researchers analyzed the unprecedented oak death event that took place…  More 

A Conversation About Fire and Water

For hydrologist Dennis Hallema, a recent conference presentation in Kelowna, British Columbia, turned into an opportunity to speak about an urgent research issue in front of an even larger audience. Following his talk at the 4th International Conference on Forests and Water in a Changing Environment, Hallema (an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education…  More 

For Loblolly Pines, A Fertilization and Water Scarcity Paradox

Driving down a country road or even an interstate highway in many areas of the South, one cannot help but notice them: the straight rows of pine trees, sometimes as far as the eye can see, that make up the 20 million acres of planted pines in the region. Eighty percent of these trees are…  More 

Vulnerability to Climate Change: Hotspots in Georgia

Since the 1970s, the average temperature in the southeastern U.S. has risen, especially during the winter. The increased temperature has been accompanied by other changes: droughts have become more common, and severe storms are more frequent and extreme. “We wanted to determine how these changes in climate are affecting people in Georgia,” says U.S. Forest…  More 

Could Forest Thinning Help Ease Water Shortages in the United States?

Planning for the future of the nation’s water resources is more important now than ever before as severe drought grips the West, affecting heavily populated areas and critical agricultural regions. Forests generally yield huge quantities of water—much more than crops or grasslands—but also use a lot of water during the growing season, so some land…  More 

UNC and SRS Scientists Awarded NSF-USDA Grant to Address Water Scarcity in the Southeast

University of North Carolina (UNC) and U.S. Forest Service researchers with the Center for Integrated Forest Science (CIFS) recently received a $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundationand the USDA to design strategies for communities in southeastern U.S. shifting from water abundance to water scarcity due to climate change effects on weather patterns. Accustomed…  More