John W. Coulston

Project Leader/Supervisory Research Forester
1710 Research Center Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060-6349
Phone: 540-231-4674

Current Research

Developing and applying quantitative tools and techniques to assess resource conditions and characteristics across broad spatial scales.


Ph.D. in Forest Ecology, 2004
North Carolina State University
M.S. in Forest Biometrics, 1999
North Carolina State University
B.S. in Forest Management, 1996
North Carolina State University


Research Highlights

Carbon Accumulation by U.S. Forests May Slow Over the Next 25 Years (2016)
SRS-2016-173 U.S. forests currently help offset carbon emissions and reduce the overall costs of achieving emission targets but that could change over the next 25 years. The accumulation of carbon stored in U.S. forests may slow in the future, primarily due to land use change and forest aging, according to findings by Forest Service scientists. Future declines in forest carbon sequestration could influence emission reduction targets and impact the costs of achieving policy goals. Policies that encourage retaining or expanding forest land could enhance carbon sequestration levels over the next 25 years.

Future Drinking Water Supply Depends on Interactions of Climate, Land Use, and Water Management (2020)
SRS-2020-37 Changes in climate and land use strongly shape water resource management, but understanding their joint impacts is extremely challenging. To reliably meet future drinking water demands, water utilities must understand potential impacts of climate and land use changes on water availability.This work underscores the need to consider system responses and outcomes when determining the impacts of hydrologic change on drinking water availability.

New research reveals that mixed land use watersheds are most vulnerable to forest loss (2017)
SRS-2017-168 Forest Service scientists developed a novel land use model and integrated modeling framework that represents a significant advancement for evaluating the potential effects of climate and land use change at scales necessary to inform policy and management decision-making. Their findings indicate that land use change was particularly influential in a mixed land use watershed, which is especially important for identifying areas where hydrologic responses are most sensitive to land use change. This study emphasizes the importance of integrated modeling to predict future water resources, including impacts from land use change, climate change, forest dynamics, and hydrological processes.