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 

Assessing Future Life Along the Lumber River

A new project brings together researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and North Carolina State University (NCSU) with students from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) to assess how land use and climate change impacts on the Lumber River will affect members of the Lumbee Tribe, the largest Native American tribe in North…  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 

Changes at Streamside in the Southern Appalachians

The loss of eastern hemlock could affect water yield and storm flow from forest watersheds in the southern Appalachians, according to a new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (Coweeta) located in Otto, North Carolina. The article was recently published online in the journal Ecohydrology. “Eastern hemlock trees have died throughout…  More 

Bringing Fire Back to the Kisatchie Sandstone Hills

The hillside bogs, sandstone glades, and woodlands of the Kisatchie Sandstone Hills in Louisiana are potential homes to a number of rare and endangered animals such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and the Louisiana pine snake. However, in much of the Kisatchie Hills, the open woodlands these animals need have vanished amid a dense midstory of…  More 

Driving OHVs through Streams

Millions of people enjoy nature while riding all-terrain vehicles, utility or recreational off-highway vehicles, or off-highway motorcycles. Collectively, these vehicles are called off-highway vehicles or OHVs, and in the southeastern U.S. – especially in Arkansas – much of this vehicle use occurs on U.S. Forest Service lands or other public lands. In Arkansas, increased off-highway…  More 

When It Rains, It Pours…and Increases Soil Erosion Potential in a Changing Climate

Anyone who has seen a gully carved by water flowing over land or a muddied creek following a rainstorm has witnessed soil erosion. Beyond its messiness, water-caused soil erosion can have far reaching impacts. When nutrients and organic matter in soils are washed away, decreased soil fertility affects food production, sediment entering streams and rivers…  More 

Life in the Rubbish: Crayfish Habitat in the Mississippi Yazoo River Basin

Crayfish – also called crawfish, crawdads, or mudbugs, depending on where you live – look like tiny lobsters, and live in freshwater rivers and streams. Crayfish need instream cover to hide from predators – and from larger, cannibalistic kin. They also use cover to find food, to shelter while incubating eggs, and to keep themselves…  More 

The Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory

From surface to core, the Earth’s radius is almost 4,000 miles, but only the uppermost sliver of that rocky expanse, called the critical zone, sustains life. This zone extends from the base of weathered rock to the treetops, and includes water, soils, vegetation, and animals.   A new study, led by Duke University and funded…  More 

Does Carbon in Wetland Soils Go With the Flow?

Among the various providers of ecosystem services, forested wetlands might be the champions. With their sponge-like abilities, they supply and purify water, protect communities from flooding, offer habitat for diverse species, produce timber and other goods, and present many opportunities for recreation and general enjoyment. Hidden in wetland soils is another critically important benefit: storage…  More