Water Yields from Southern Appalachian Watersheds in Decline since the 1970s

Where would we be without the water we get from cool mountain streams? In the densely populated southeastern U.S., forested watersheds are particularly important to drinking water supplies. Recent estimates show that southern forests deliver surface drinking water to some 48.7 million people, with streams from the mountainous Southern Appalachian region alone providing water supplies…  More 

How Drought Affects Forests and Streams

Across the U.S., forested watersheds filter surface water that drains into the rivers that supply drinking water for many of the nation’s cities. Besides providing high quality water for humans needs, forest trees regulate streamflow, mitigate flooding, and help create and maintain the water conditions that support healthy aquatic ecosystems. Drought affects the ability of…  More 

More Productive U.S. National Forests and Grasslands Could Yield Less Water in a Future Climate

A warmer climate may lead to higher growth and productivity on U.S. national forests and grasslands, but university and U.S. Forest Service researchers say this could reduce quantities of fresh water flowing from most of these lands, even with increases in precipitation. Results were published today in Scientific Reports. “The national forests and grasslands managed…  More 

The Santee Experimental Forest

In 1934, the U.S. Forest Service allocated 6,100 acres (2,470 ha) of the Francis Marion National Forest (Francis Marion) near Charleston, South Carolina, for the Santee Experimental Forest (the Santee). By the 1930s, much of the site had been heavily used for centuries, the upland cleared to raise livestock and produce naval stores (tar, pitch, turpentine, and…  More 

Forests Provide Clean Drinking Water for the South

  For over 19 million people in the South – roughly the population of Florida – clean water begins in the region’s national forests. That’s according to a report by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station published in late 2014. The report provides information at a level not previously available on the amount of surface drinking…  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 

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 

From Fan to Fellow: Research Hydrologist Honored by Organization that Inspired his Career

Long before Ge Sun became an associate editor of forest hydrology for the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), he was a big fan. “The publications by AWRA with a strong focus on the comprehensive nature of waters inspired my early interest in forest hydrology and watershed management even before I moved to the United…  More 

Forests and Water in a Changing Environment

U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists played leading roles in the 4th International Conference on Forests and Water in a Changing Environment held in Kelowna, British Columbia, July 6 to 9. SRS project leader Jim Vose (Center for Integrated Forest Science) and research hydrologist Ge Sun (Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center) helped establish…  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