Climate Change and the Future of Southern Wetlands

The Southeast hosts an impressive network of forested wetlands. These wetlands improve water quality, reduce flooding, store excess carbon, and provide important habitat for wildlife. They are also particularly vulnerable to changes in climate and land use. With researchers from North Carolina State University, USDA Forest Service scientist Peter Caldwell designed a model to assess…  More 

Hill Demonstration Forest Joins Experimental Forest Network

The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and the North Carolina State University College of Natural Resources recently signed an agreement adding NC State’s Hill Demonstration Forest to the SRS Experimental Forest Network. The Hill Demonstration Forest covers more than 2,600 acres in the Carolina Slate Belt and has a variety of forest types and…  More 

Wetland Silviculture & Water Tables

Water tables are everywhere, but their levels fluctuate – especially in the poorly drained clay soils of coastal South Carolina. Topography also affects water tables, and forested wetlands in the Coastal Plain tend to be flat. “They respond rapidly to rainfall and evapotranspiration,” says Devendra Amatya, a USDA Forest Service research hydrologist. Amatya is on…  More 

How Drought and Thinning Affect Water Balances in Southeastern Pine Plantations

Evapotranspiration – the combination of water evaporation and plant transpiration – is an essential process for forests and water supply and climate. This is particularly true in the Southeastern U.S. where evapotranspiration from forested watersheds can return 50 to 90 percent of annual precipitation to the atmosphere. Until now, there has been a gap in…  More 

Women In Science: Zanethia Barnett

The Women in Science series features women scientists from across the Southern Research Station (SRS) – their education, career paths, challenges, achievements, and inspirations. Meet Zanethia Barnett, a natural resource specialist from the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Oxford, Mississippi. Specializing in freshwater fauna and aquatic ecosystems, Barnett conducts her research in the lakes, streams,…  More 

Long-Term Research Yields Understanding and Insights

Gaze at a painting for long enough, and you may notice details that you didn’t see right away: light, movement, and texture. This happens with research data, too. “At Coweeta, we all talk about how everything fits together,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Jennifer Knoepp. “We have been analyzing long-term watershed data for more than…  More 

Water Tables and Wetlands

Some wetlands won’t stay wet, according to new research that blends long-term observations and climate projections. “By end of the 21st century, all five of the wetland sites we studied are predicted to become much drier,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ge Sun. The five wetlands are long-term research sites located throughout the southeastern…  More 

Air, Water, and Wavelets

We know air temperature has increased over the last 15-20 years, and that it will continue to do so on an unprecedented scale. But we are still learning exactly how this air trend impacts water. As it turns out, air temperature is linked to changes in our streams — affecting things like flow, soil moisture,…  More 

New Forest, New Water Yield

Today, forests abound in the southern Appalachians. However, there was a time in the early 1900s when many forests were harvested or cleared so that the land could be used to grow crops or provide pasture. “The forests that have returned may use water differently,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katherine Elliott. Elliott and…  More 

Estimating Ecosystem Water Use

For more than a decade, U.S. Forest Service and Chinese scientists have collaborated to understand how human activities affect carbon and water cycles in managed ecosystems. Working through the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium, scientists share data from a network of eddy covariance flux towers across the two countries. The towers measure the flow of water vapor,…  More