Using CAT in Local Watersheds

General circulation models use math to predict the future – future rainfall and temperature data, for example. But GCMs are meant for global or regional scales. “CAT is better for fine scales,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ying Ouyang. CAT, the Climate Assessment Tool, is a model developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.…  More 

Highlights from the Joint Leadership Team Meeting

On August 30, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Regional Leadership Team met with the Southern Research Station Leadership Team in Asheville, NC. Ken Arney, deputy regional forester, kicked off the day with a recap of the last joint meeting held in 2015. Several priority topics from that forum are still of great importance: longleaf pine…  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 

Air Pollution Could Worsen Water Shortages in a Changing Climate

Over the past 40 years since the passage of the Clean Air Act, air pollution from automobiles, factories, and power plants has substantially decreased, leading to better human and environmental health. But air pollution and its impacts on people and ecosystems remain a concern amid growing demands for transportation, energy, and manufactured goods. University 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 

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 

For Loblolly Pines, A Fertilization and Water Scarcity Paradox

Driving down a country road or even an interstate highway in many areas of the South, one cannot help but notice them: the straight rows of pine trees, sometimes as far as the eye can see, that make up the 20 million acres of planted pines in the region. Eighty percent of these trees are…  More 

Loss of Eastern Hemlock Will Affect Forest Water Use

Eastern hemlock grows in streamside areas throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains, where it is a keystone species. Because of its dense evergreen foliage, constant year-round transpiration (loss of water from needles) rate,  and dominance in riparian and cove habitats,  eastern hemlock plays an important role in the area’s water cycle, and regulates stream flow year…  More