Wildland Fire

Watering the Forests for the Trees: an emerging priority for managing water in forest landscapes

Contact First Name: 
Gordon
Contact Last Name: 
Grant
Principal Investigator(s): 
Gordon Grant, Naomi Tague, Craig Allen
Research Partners: 
UC Santa Barbara, US Geological Survey
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

Water stress represents a common mechanism for many of the primary disturbances affecting forests, and forest management needs to explicitly address the very large physiological demands that vegetation has for water. This study demonstrates how state-of-science ecohydrologic models can be used to explore how different management strategies might improve forest health.

Project Abstract: 

Widespread threats to forests due to drought stress prompt re-thinking of priorities for water management on forest lands. In contrast to the widely held view that forest management should emphasize providing water for downstream uses, we argue that maintaining forest health in the face of environmental change may require focusing on the forests themselves and strategies to reduce their vulnerability to increasing water stress in the context of a changing climate. Management strategies would need to be tailored to specific landscapes but could include: a) thinning; 2) encouraging drought-tolerant species; 3) irrigation; and 4) strategies that make more water available to plants for transpiration. Hydrologic modeling reveals that specific management actions could reduce tree mortality due to drought stress. Adopting water conservation for vegetation as a priority for managing water on forest lands would represent a fundamental change in perspective and potentially involve tradeoffs with other downstream uses of water.

Research Results: 

Watering the Forests for the Trees: an emerging priority for managing water in forest landscapes - http://www.fsl.orst.edu/wpg/pubs/13_Granteal_WFFT.pdf

Geographic Region: 
United States
Alaska Region (R10)
Northern Region (R1)
Rocky Mountain Region (R2)
Southwestern Region (R3)
Intermountain Region (R4)
Pacific Southwest Region (R5)
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Southern Region (R8)
Eastern Region (R9)
Virgin Islands
Project Status: 
Complete
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/23/2014

Watershed Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP)

Overview & Applicability

The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), is a physically-based soil erosion prediction technology. WEPP has a number of customized interfaces developed for common applications such as roads, managed forests, forests following wildfire, and rangelands. It also has a large database of cropland soils and vegetation scenarios. The WEPP model is a distributed parameter, continuous simulation model, and is able to describe a given erosion concern in great detail for an experienced user.

Summary: 

The WEPP model consists of multiple applications that can estimate erosion and sediment processes on hillslopes and small watersheds, taking into account climate, land use, site disturbances, vegetation, and soil properties.

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