Riparian Buffer Trees Offer Unexpected Benefits

Trees take up large quantities of water through their roots, but 99 percent or more of that water moves through the roots, trunks, and branches, ultimately evaporating from small openings called stomata, which are usually located on leaves. There are many ways to measure the movement of this water, although most methods measure the amount…  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 

Bringing Bottomland Forests Back to the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

The vast Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) that stretches along the Mississippi River from southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico once supported 24 million acres of bottomland and wetland forest — rich stands of oak, gum, ash, hickory, baldcypress, and water tupelo. The hydrology of the original floodplain was drastically altered by flood-control levees built…  More 

New Report and Interactive Map Detail Best Management Practices for States

In recognition of Earth Day, the National Association for State Foresters (NASF) has released a report on forestry best management practices (BMPs) for water quality, along with an interactive map detailing practices in each state. State forestry agencies have been developing BMPs since the 1970s, building a reliable set of standards that help protect local water…  More 

Headwaters to Estuaries: Advances in Watershed Science and Management

On March 2 -5, 81  scientists, managers, and stakeholders met in North Charleston, South Carolina, to present and discuss the latest research on watershed science and management. U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station scientist Carl Trettin served as conference chair and host  for the 5th Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, which took a national perspective…  More 

Mississippi Alluvial Valley Forests: The Next 50 Years

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station (SRS) along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examined a variety…  More 

Sunlight to the Seagrasses

Just off Florida’s 8,000 miles of coastline and tidal areas, in shallow sunlit waters, over 2 million acres of seagrass meadows waft in the ocean currents. Besides providing food and habitat for manatees, sea turtles, shellfish, and other animals, seagrasses protect coasts from erosion and store vast quantities of carbon dioxide. “Seagrasses grow off the…  More 

A Future for Freeze-Tolerant Eucalyptus in the South?

Recently published research by U.S. Forest Service scientists provides important first-time analyses of the potential impacts of introducing plantations of freeze-tolerant Eucalyptus into the South. Eucalyptus, a fast-growing tree native to Australia and Indonesia, is planted across large areas of Asia, Africa, and South America as a major source of hardwood fiber for paper and…  More 

The Future of Streams: Using Air Temperature to Model Stream Warming

Stream temperatures affect the health of aquatic animals as well as many other biological and ecological processes. However, finding out whether – or how much – streams are warming has been difficult, as long-term temperature data does not exist for many waterways. A new U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) study shows that long-term historic…  More 

How do Wildfires — And Efforts to Abate Them — Affect the Nation’s Water Supplies?

More than 180 million people across the United States rely on forest watersheds to store, filter, and deliver the water that flows from their taps. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, these watershed functions face an increasing risk of severe wildfire. Prescribed burning is one treatment that can reduce forest fuels and wildfire’s threats…  More