Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Managing Future Forests for Water

29.09.2011
Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists recently used long-term data from the Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory (Coweeta) in Western North Carolina to examine the feasibility of managing forests for water supply under the changing weather conditions forecast for the future.

Published in the September issue of the journal Ecological Applications, the analysis examines the interactions among changing weather conditions, forest management, and streamflow using long-term data from paired watershed studies at Coweeta, a 5,600-acre research facility and Forest Service Experimental Forest.

“Long-term data from experimental forests are truly the foundation of Forest Service research,” says SRS Research Ecologist and lead author Chelcy Ford. “For this study we took one of the longest continuous records of climate and hydrology and coupled it with data from the long-term forest management experiments on the paired watersheds to look at both precipitation patterns and the feasibility of using forest management to sustain water supply.”

The data analysis revealed that precipitation patterns are changing and becoming more extreme, in line with what climate models predict for the area. “We found significant increases in temperature and in the frequency of extreme wet and dry years since the 1980s,” says Ford. “These findings tied with those on management and streamflow have implications for managers in any area where changes in precipitation patterns could occur.”

Management approaches used in Coweeta watershed studies include conventional thinning strategies as well as more intensive approaches such as converting hardwood stands to pines. Partly because pines keep their needles year-round, conversion from hardwoods to pines decreases streamflow. For this study, Coweeta researchers asked whether vegetation on managed watersheds responded differently to extreme dry and wet years than vegetation on unmanaged watersheds.

“The answer in almost all cases was yes,” says Ford. “But from a streamflow perspective, the extreme case of converting hardwood forest to pine produced the largest effect on available surface water. Though it might be a good option for mitigating climate change under future scenarios of increased precipitation, species conversion from hardwood forest to pine would be a poor choice under drier scenarios where it could worsen water shortages by reducing the amount of available water in streams.”

Land managers and policy makers are looking to forests for options to offset the effects of climate change, and to forest management as a way to create ecosystems more resilient to the weather effects of a changing climate, but Ford and her fellow authors advise managers to look closely at the risks and vulnerabilities involved in managing for climate change, especially in relation to water supply.

“Managers need to carefully weigh the risks of adopting one strategy over another,” says Ford. “They also need to realize that any strategies they consider will have to address these risks at the regional or even more fine-scaled level, taking into account possible changes to local precipitation patterns.”

For more information: Chelcy Ford at (828) 524-2128, x 118 or crford@fs.fed.us

Full text of the article: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/38726

Chelcy Ford | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/news/486
http://www.fs.fed.us

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>