Photo of Jennifer  D. Knoepp

Jennifer D. Knoepp

Emeritus Research Soil Scientist
3160 Coweeta Lab Road
(10 miles south of Franklin and west 3 miles from US-441)
Otto, NC 28763-9218
Phone: 828-667-5261 x115
Fax: 828-369-6768

Current Research

High elevation ecosystem responses to acidic deposition in the southern Appalachian region; Loss of hemlock via hemlock woolly adelgid infestation and impacts on nutrient cycling; the potential of short rotation woody crop establishment on improving water quality in marginal farmlands of the Mississippi River Valley; impacts of land use changes in the southern Appalachians on ecosystem biogeochemical cycling; impacts of time, climate change, disturbance, and atmospheric deposition on stream chemistry in USFS EFRs across the U.S.

Research Interests

Forest soils, biological and environmental regulation of soil nitrogen transformations and biogeochemical cycles, nutrient transport within watersheds, long-term changes in soil carbon, nitrogen and available nutrients, effects of forest management practices and disturbance on soil carbon and nutrient transformations and availability.

Past Research

Examining the effects of elevation and vegetation gradients on forest nitrogen cycling; effects of prescribed burning on nutrient availability in xeric and mesic forests; structure and function of riparian soils and their role in regulating the movement of nutrients from hillslopes to streams; effects of forest management practices on soil carbon and nutrient cycling.

Why This Research is Important

Soil plays an important role in maintaining the ecosystem services provided by forests especially the headwater catchments present on National Forest lands, such as clean air and clean water. As a vital component of all ecosystems soils contain large pools of carbon and nutrients in forests. Disturbance of forests, by natural or anthropogenic impacts alters the cycling of both C and nutrients. Understanding the regulation of biogeochemical cycling by and within forest soils is essential to decision making by land managers.


Ph.D. in Forestry, 1987
University of Missouri
M.S. in Horticulture and Forestry, 1982
University of Arkansas
B.S. in Horticulture, 1980
University of Arkansas

Professional Experience

Research Soil Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory
National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow, USEPA/CERL
Research Assistant, University of Missouri, School of Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife
Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture and Forestry
Laboratory Technician, Forestry Laboratory, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Department of Horticulture and Forestry

Professional Organizations

  • Soil Science Society of America, Fellow (2014—Current)
  • University of Georgia, Adjunct Faculty (2012—Current)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Adjunct Faculty (2012—Current)
  • Soil Science Society of America, Member (1982—Current)
  • North American Forest Soils, Progam Chair (2008—2013)
  • Soil Science Society of America, Chair - Forest, Range, And Wildland Soils Div (2006—2007)

Awards and Recognition

Soil Science Society of America Fellow, 2014
Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by SSSA, an international scientific society whose more than 6,000 members are dedicated to advancing the field of soil science and fostering the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils.

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

A Tale of Nitrogen Retention From Two Watersheds (2014)
NRS-2014-047 Because elevated nitrogen loading can impair terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, understanding the origins, retention, and export of nitrogen from forested watersheds is crucial. Forest Service scientists at Fernow Experimental Forest and Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory analyzed long-term watershed studies to demonstrate the important effects of atmospheric deposition, history of disturbance, and biological inputs on the ability of a forest to keep nitrogen out of streams.

Changes in Water Quality Last More Than 30 Years After Clear Cutting (2016)
SRS-2016-188 Evidence from 36 years of data following experimental clear-cut logging at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, N.C., suggests that forest disturbance in the southern Appalachian mountains can cause elevation of nitrogen in streamflow. These elevated nitrogen levels an last decades or perhaps longer.

Sensitivity of Southern Appalachian Watersheds to Acidic Deposition (2016)
SRS-2016-189 High-elevation forested watershed streams remain acidic even though acid deposition has declined. Land managers have long sought to identify and restore watersheds remaining impacted by chronic acid deposition. Forest Service scientists studied high-elevation southern Appalachian watersheds across a gradient of acidic deposition to identify measurements that could be used to index stream acid neutralizing capacity and pH, and to estimate the lime required to restore watersheds.

R&D Affiliations
Research Topics
Priority Areas
SRS Science Area
Experimental Forests and Ranges
External Resources
  • The sites listed below are third-party sites which the Forest Service has provided for reference only.
  • ResearchGate Profile logo ResearchGate Profile