Forests Supply Water to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s forests are still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Local scientists estimate that one out of five trees in the El Yunque National Forest were lost during or after the storm. Widespread forest restoration and monitoring efforts are underway. But that work isn’t focused on just the trees in those forests — water supply is an important ecosystem…  More 

Projections of Future Climate and Annual Runoff

Hydrologists have traditionally relied on historic precipitation data to estimate broad-scale runoff. “Rainfall was always number one,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Ge Sun. “But things are changing and getting more complicated.” Sun co-authored a recent modeling study that investigated how other climate factors might influence future changes in runoff. The researchers were intrigued by…  More 

The Future of Fish in the NC Piedmont

What will fish communities of the North Carolina Piedmont look like in the future? “Many factors could affect this,” says U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist Peter Caldwell. “Water withdrawals could be one of the most important.” Water withdrawn from rivers may eventually flow out of kitchen faucets. Many municipalities get drinking water from rivers and…  More 

An Assignment in Africa Connects Forests, Water, and People

Steve McNulty, Ge Sun, and Erika (Cohen) Mack hiked for three hours on a winding trail over steep hills through land thick with trees and vines. They arrived at a pool and looked up at a towering waterfall. If they had stood at the top of the waterfall, they would have seen forested land stretching…  More 

Helping Aquatic Wildlife Managers Navigate the River of Streamflow Models

Streams in the southeastern U.S. are among the most ecologically rich in the world, but climate change, land cover change, and withdrawals threaten the health of their aquatic ecosystems. “Understanding how changes in streamflow affect aquatic wildlife is critical,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Peter Caldwell. “Many states in the Southeast recognize the urgency of the issue and…  More 

Developing Countries Tap Future Water Availability

Developing countries often face extreme challenges that negatively affect forests that provide local water supplies. Africa alone has roughly 22 percent forests and woodlands, areas rich with biodiversity, timber, and water resources. However, many of these areas face extreme conditions that threaten unprotected forests and ultimately future water availability. In 2005, Eastern Forest Environmental Threat…  More 

The Water Web: More about WaSSI

Water quantity and quality issues affect every living thing on Earth, yet, until recently, methods for projecting possible future water supply scenarios were fairly limited. In the late 1990s, Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists participating in several national-scale assessments of climate change science and climate-related impacts discovered “a frustrating lack of landscape-scale, integrated ecosystem models from…  More