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Daniel G. Neary

Dan Neary - Soil Scientist & Hydrologist

Senior Research Soil Scientist

2500 South Pine Knoll Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Contact Daniel G. Neary

Current Research

  • Prescribed fire and wildfire impacts on forest soils and watersheds
  • Herbicide fate in New Zealand forest watersheds
  • Four Forests Restoration Initiative effects on water resources
  • Providing the most current information to forest and fire managers on the watershed impacts of wildfires, prescibed fires, and fuels treatments to guide NEPA analyses and management activities.
  • Ecological implications of forest soil disturbances
  • Best Management Practices for protecting water quality

Neary, Daniel G. 2019. Forest soil disturbance: Implications of factors contributing to the wildland fire nexus. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 83(Suppl1): S228-S243.

Research Interests

My main research interests are the impacts of prescribed fires and wildfires on watersheds and soils. I am also active in promoting the sustainable and environmentally sound use of forest bioenergy as a means of dealing with excessive fuel loadings in forests. The environmental fate and effects of forestry pesticides is of continuing interest.

Past Research

My past research has focused on water quality impacts of forest management practices. For my PhD dissertation, I examined the use of forest soils in Michigan for renovating municipal wastewater. During my post-doctoral work in New Zealand, I studied water quality responses of forest catchments converted from beech-podocarp to Pinus radiata. I worked in the Southeast USA for 15 years documenting the environmental fate of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides and participated in a South-wide Environmental Impact Study. After transferring to the Southwest in 1994, I concentrated on the water resources impacts of prescribed fires and wildfires. While I was in Australia in 2009 on a McMaster Fellowship, I worked on Best Management Practices for reducing erosion impacts of tree harvesting in agroforestry management systems. In 2015, I received an OICD Research Fellowship for research on the water quality effects of forestry herbicides. I conducted a cumulative effects analysis on two herbicides, used extensively in Pinus radiata regeneration. In 1997-1998, I collaborated with Dr. Peter Ffolliot and Dr. Leonard DeBano, University of Arizona, on preparation and publication of a reference book "Fire's Effects on Ecosystems"

Why This Research is Important

Water is everything! National Forests in the western USA are sources of good quality and sustainable water supply for over 3500 municipalities in the western USA. Many municipalities in the eastern USA also rely on forested watersheds for water supply. Fire is and will continue to be a major disturbance factor in forests of all regions of the North America. Fire conditions are changing in most areas of the continent withlonger fire seasons, and hotter, drier, and more windy weather conditions. Continuing research is needed to understand the impacts of these disturbances on watersheds and document the tradeoffs of mitigation measures like fuels thinning and prescribed fires. Utilization of Best Management Practices in forest management is key to protecting water quality and quantity.

I have over 440 publications dealing with many water-related and ecological topics. A few key publications are:

1. DeBano, L.F.; Neary, D.G.; Ffolliott, P.F. 1998. Fire's Effects on Ecosystems. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 333 p. 

2. Neary, D.G.; Klopatek, C.C.; DeBano, L.F.; Ffolliott, P.F. 1999. Effects of fire on belowground sustainability: A review and synthesis. Forest Ecology and Management. 122: 51-71.

3. Neary, D.G.; Ryan, K.C.; DeBano, L.F. (Editors) 2005 (Revised 2008). Fire effects on soil and water. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42, Volume 4: Fort Collins, CO. 250 p.

4. Neary, Daniel G.; Leonard, Jackson M. 2019. Physical vulnerabilities from wildfires: Flames, floods, and debris flows. In: Naser, Humood, ed. Human Impact on the Environment. London, England: IntechOpen Limited. 17 p.

5. Neary, Daniel G. 2019. Forest soil disturbance: Implications of factors contributing to the wildland fire nexus. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 83(Suppl1): S228-S243.

6. Neary, D. G. 2018. Wildfire contribution to desertification at local, regional, and global scales [Chapter 8]. In: Squires, Victor Roy; Ariapour, Ali, eds. Desertification: Desertification: Past, Current and Future Trends. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 199-222.

7. Neary, Daniel G.; Baillie, Brenda R. 2016. Cumulative effects analysis of the water quality risk of herbicides used for site preparation in the Central North Island, New Zealand. Water. 8: 573.

8. Neary, Daniel G. 2015. Best practices guidelines for managing water in bioenergy feedstock production. Report 2015:TR02. International Energy Agency, Bioenergy Task 43. 124 p.


  • Michigan State University, B.S., Forestry, 1969
  • Michigan State University, M.S., Forest Ecology, 1972
  • Michigan State University, Ph.D., Forest Soils and Forest Hydrology, 1974
  • Professional Experience

    Research Soil Scientist GS-15 to ST, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, Arizona
    1994 to present

    Research Soil Scientist GS-11 to GS-15, Intensive Management Practices Assessment Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    1981 to 1994

    Research Soil Scientist GS-11, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Franklin, NC
    1978 to 1981

    NRAC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, New Zealand Forest Research Institute, Rotorua, New Zealand
    1974 to 1978

    Professional Organizations

    • Soil Science Society of America, Member, Fellow, Chair ( 1974 to present )

    Featured Publications


    Neary, Daniel G.; Leonard, Jackson M., 2020. Effects of fire on grassland soils and water: A review
    Gottfried, Gerald J.; Turner, David; Bemis, Ronald J.; Neary, Daniel G.; Sundt, Peter; Traphagen, Myles B.; Edminster, Carleton B.; Decker, Donald D., 2020. Experimental treatments for increasing perennial grass cover in a shrub-invaded grassland in the Southwestern Borderlands region of Arizona and New Mexico
    Adams, Mary Beth; Archer, Vince A.; Bailey, Scott; McGuire, Kevin; Miniat, Chelcy F.; Neary, Daniel G.; O’Geen, Toby; Robichaud, Peter R.; Strobel, Michael, 2020. Soils and water [Chapter 3]
    Garcia-Chevesich, Pablo A.; Martínez, Eduardo; García, Alejandro; Castillo, Miguel; Garfias, Roberto; Neary, Daniel G.; Pizarro, Roberto; Valdes, Rodrigo; Gonzalez, Luis; Venegas-Quinones, Hector L.; Magni, Carlos, 2019. Formation of post-fire water repellent layers on Nothofagus glauca (Hualo) forests, after the historical “Las Maquinas” wildfire in south-central Chile
    Neary, Daniel G.; Bentrup, Gary; Schoeneberger, Michele, 2017. Appendix A: Regional summaries: Southwest
    Leonard, Jackson M.; Magana, Hugo A.; Bangert, Randy K.; Neary, Daniel G.; Montgomery, Wilson L., 2017. Fire and floods: The recovery of headwater stream systems following high-severity wildfire
    Baillie, Brenda R.; Neary, Daniel G.; Gous, Stefan; Rolando, Carol A., 2015. Aquatic fate of aerially applied hexazinone and terbuthylazine in a New Zealand planted forest
    Schweinle, Jorg; Rodl, Anne; Borjesson, Pal; Neary, Daniel G.; Langeveld, Johannes W.A.; Berndes, Goran; Cowie, Annette; Ahlgren, Serina; Margni, Manuele; Gaudreault, Caroline; Verschuyl, Jake; Wigley, T. Bently; Vice, Kirsten; Titus, Brian, 2015. Assessing the environmental performance of biomass supply chains: Methods, results, challenges and limitations
    Garcia-Chevesich, P. R.; Valdes, R.; Neary, Daniel G.; Pizarro, R., 2015. Minimizing post-fire erosion using rainwater harvesting practices
    Overby, Steven T.; Owen, Suzanne M.; Hart, Stephen C.; Neary, Daniel G.; Johnson, Nancy C., 2015. Soil microbial community resilience with tree thinning in a 40-year-old experimental ponderosa pine forest
    Neary, Daniel G.; Langeveld, Johannes W. A., 2015. Soils [Chapter 4.2]
    Berndes, Goran; Youngs, Heather; Ballester, Maria Victoria Ramos; Cantarella, Heitor; Cowie, Annette L.; Jewitt, Graham; Martinelli, Luiz Antonio; Neary, Daniel G., 2015. Soils and water [Chapter 18]
    Leonard, Jackson M.; Medina, Alvin L.; Neary, Daniel G.; Tecle, Aregai, 2015. The influence of parent material on vegetation response 15 years after the Dude Fire, Arizona
    Garcia-Chevesich, P.; Valdes-Pineda, R.; Neary, Daniel G.; Pizarro, R., 2015. Using rainwater harvesting techniques for firefighting in forest plantations
    Aregai, Tecle; Neary, Daniel G., 2015. Water quality impacts of forest fires
    Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Brooks, Kenneth N.; Kolka, Randall K.; Raish, Carol B.; Neary, Daniel G., 2014. Contributions of studies on experimental forests to hydrology and watershed management [Chapter 14]
    Garcia-Chevesich, Pablo A.; Alvarado, Sergio; Neary, Daniel G.; Valdes, Rodrigo; Valdes, Juan; Aguirre, Juan Jose; Mena, Marcelo; Pizarro, Roberto; Jofre, Paolo; Vera, Mauricio; Olivares, Claudio, 2014. Respiratory disease and particulate air pollution in Santiago Chile: Contribution of erosion particles from fine sediments
    Youberg, Ann; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Karen A.; Koestner, Peter E., 2013. Post-wildfire erosion in the Chiricahua Mountains
    Ffolliott, Peter F.; ; Chen, Hui; Kauffman, Aaron T.; Stropki, Cody L.; Neary, Daniel G., 2013. Soil erosion and deposition before and after fire in oak savannas
    Ffolliott, Peter F.; Brooks, Kenneth N.; Neary, Daniel G.; Tapia, Roberto Pizarro; Garcia-Chevesich, Pablo, 2013. Soil erosion and sediment production on watershed landscapes: Processes and control
    ; Neary, Daniel G.; Ffolliott, Peter; Koestner, Karen, 2012. Cascabel prescribed fire long-term watershed study: an opportunity to monitor climate change
    Long, Jonathan W.; Medina, Alvin L.; Neary, Daniel G., 2012. Channel morphology [Chapter 5]
    Ffolliott, Peter F.; ; Chen, Hui; Stropki, Cody L.; Neary, Daniel G., 2012. Fire effects on herbaceous plants and shrubs in the oak savannas of the Southwestern Borderlands
    Neary, Daniel G.; Rinne, John N.; Medina, Alvin L., 2012. Information sources [Chapter 12]
    Neary, Daniel G.; Rinne, John N.; Medina, Alvin L.; Baker, Malchus B. Jr., 2012. Introduction [Chapter 1]
    Neary, Daniel G.; ; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Poff, Boris, 2012. Long-term forest watershed studies in the Southwest: recycled for wildfire and prescribed fire
    Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Karen A.; Youberg, Ann; Koestner, Peter E., 2012. Post-fire rill and gully formation, Schultz Fire 2010, Arizona, USA
    Neary, Daniel G.; Medina, Alvin L.; Rinne, John N., 2012. Research recommendations [Chapter 10]
    Neary, Daniel G.; Rinne, John N.; Medina, Alvin L.., 2012. Summary and conclusions [Chapter 11]
    Neary, Daniel G.; Medina, Alvin L.; Rinne, John N., 2012. Synthesis of Upper Verde River research and monitoring 1993-2008
    Poff, Boris; Koestner, Karen A.; Neary, Daniel G.; Merritt, David, 2012. Threats to western United States riparian ecosystems: A bibliography
    Neary, Daniel G.; Hayes, Deborah; Rustad, Lindsey; Vose, James; ; Sebesteyn, Stephen; Johnson, Sherri; Swanson, Fred; Adams, Mary, 2012. US Forest Service Experimental Forests and Ranges Network: a continental research platform for catchment-scale research
    Neary, Daniel G.; Medina, Alvin L., 2012. Verde River hydrology [Chapter 3]
    Neary, Daniel G.; Long, Jonathan W.; Baker, Malchus B. Jr., 2012. Watershed condition [Chapter 4]
    Koestner, Karen A.; Carroll, Mike D.; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Peter E.; Youberg, Ann, 2011. Depositional characteristics and sediment availability resulting from the post-Schultz Fire floods of 2010
    Koestner, Karen A.; Carroll, Mike D.; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Peter E.; Youberg, Ann, 2011. Depositional characteristics of post-fire flooding following the Schultz Fire, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona
    Koestner, Karen; Youberg, Anne; Neary, Daniel G., 2011. Field trip guide to the 2010 Schultz Fire Burn Area
    Youberg, Ann; Koestner, Karen A.; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Peter E., 2011. Geomorphic aspects of post-fire soil erosion - Schultz Fire 2010
    Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Karen A.; Youberg, Ann; Koestner, Peter E., 2011. Post-fire rill and gully formation, Schultz Fire 2010, Arizona, USA
    Youberg, Ann; Koestner, Karen A.; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Peter E., 2011. Rainfall and geomorphic aspects of post-fire soil erosion - Schultz Fire 2010
    Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Karen A.; Youberg, Ann; Koestner, Peter E., 2011. Rill and gully formation following the 2010 Schultz Fire
    Poff, Boris; Koestner, Karen A.; Neary, Daniel G.; Henderson, Victoria, 2011. Threats to riparian ecosystems in western North America: An analysis of existing literature
    Diaz-Chavez, Rocio; Berndes, Goran; Neary, Daniel G.; Neto, Andre Elia; Fall, Mamadou, 2011. Water quality assessment of bioenergy production
    Neary, Daniel G.; Smethurst, Philip J.; Baillie, Brenda; Petrone, Kevin C., 2011. Water quality, biodiversity, and codes of practice in relation to harvesting forest plantations in streamside management zones
    Poff, Boris A.; Tecle, Aregai; Neary, Daniel G.; Geils, Brian, 2010. Compromise Programming in forest management
    Neary, Daniel G.; Smethurst, Philip J.; Baillie, Brenda R.; Petrone, Kevin C.; Cotching, William E.; Baillie, Craig C., 2010. Does tree harvesting in streamside management zones adversely affect stream turbidity? - preliminary observations from an Australian case study
    Garcia-Chevesich, P.; Pizarro, R.; Stropki, C. L.; Ramirez de Arellano, P.; Ffolliott, P. F.; DeBano, L. F.; Neary, Daniel G.; Slack, D. C., 2010. Formation of post-fire water-repellent layers in Monterrey pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) plantations in south-central Chile
    van Leeuwen, Willem J.D.; Casady, Grant M.; Neary, Daniel G.; Bautista, Susana; Alloza, Jose Antonio; Carmel, Yohay; Wittenberg, Lea; Malkinson, Dan; Orr, Barron J., 2010. Monitoring post-wildfire vegetation response with remotely sensed time-series data in Spain, USA and Israel
    Koestner, Peter; Koestner, Karen; Neary, Daniel G.; Gottfried, Gerald J., 2010. Patterns and trends in streamflow from 1939 to 1980 at Workman Creek, Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest, Arizona
    Neary, Daniel G.; Ice, George G.; Jackson, C. Rhett, 2009. Linkages between forest soils and water quality and quantity
    Ffolliott, Peter F.; Stropki, Cody L.; Chen, Hui; Neary, Daniel G., 2009. Observations of bird numbers and species following a historic wildfire in Arizona ponderosa pine forests
    Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Jurgensen, M.; Neary, Daniel G.; Curran, M.; Trettin, C., 2008. Soil quality is fundamental to ensuring healthy forests
    Kelkar, Vasant M.; Geils, Brian W.; Becker, Dennis R.; Overby, Steven T.; Neary, Daniel G., 2006. How to recover more value from small pine trees: Essential oils and resins
    Robichaud, Peter; MacDonald, Lee; Freeouf, Jeff; Neary, Daniel G.; Martin, Deborah; Ashmun, Louise, 2003. Postfire rehabilitation of the Hayman Fire
    Overby, Steven T.; Hart, Stephen C.; Neary, Daniel G., 2002. Impacts of natural disturbance on soil carbon dynamics in forest ecosystems
    Neary, Daniel G.; Overby, Steven T.; Hart, Stephen C., 2002. Soil carbon in arid and semiarid forest ecosystems [Chapter 18]
    Neary, Daniel G.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Brooks, Kenneth N., 2000. Increasing the visibility of watershed management as a land management profession
    Edminster, Carleton B.; Weatherspoon, C. Phillip; Neary, Daniel G., 2000. The Fire and Fire Surrogates Study: Providing guidelines for fire in future forest watershed management decisions
    Pawelek, Dave; Jemison, Roy; Neary, Daniel G., 1999. A constructed wet meadow model for forested lands in the Southwest
    Neary, Daniel G.; Klopatek, Carole C.; DeBano, Leonard F.; Ffolliott, Peter F., 1999. Fire effects on belowground sustainability: A review and synthesis
    Rosen, Joy; Jemison, Roy; Pawelek, David; Neary, Daniel G., 1999. Using GIS technology to analyze and understand wet meadow ecosystems
    Medina, Alvin L.; Baker, Malchus B. Jr.; Neary, Daniel G., 1996. Desirable functional processes: A conceptual approach for evaluating ecological condition
    Ffolliott, Peter F.; DeBano, Leonard F.; Baker, Malchus B.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Solis-Garza, Gilberta; Edminster, Carleton B.; Neary, Daniel G.; Allen, Larry S.; Hamre, R. H., 1996. Effects of fire on Madrean Province Ecosystems: A symposium proceedings; March 11-15, 1996; Tucson, AZ
    DeBano, Leonard F.; Neary, Daniel G., 1996. Effects of fire on riparian systems
    Neary, Daniel G.; Overby, Steven T.; Gottfried, G. J.; Perry, H. M., 1996. Nutrients in fire-dominated ecosystems
    A fire burning on grassland.
    Natural wildfires have been important in creating and maintaining grassland ecosystems for millions of years, and prescribed fire is an important component of modern grassland management. Land managers want to understand the effects of fire on grasslands and the ecosystem services they provide, particularly as wildfires become more frequent due to drought.
    Wildland fires in the arid west create a cause for concern for many inhabitants and an area of interest for researchers. Wildfires dramatically change watersheds, yielding floods and debris flows that endanger water supplies, human lives, and valuable fish habitats.
    The Cascabel watershed study was initiated in 1999 by Rocky Mountain Research Station Scientists as part of the Southwestern Borderlands Ecosystem Management Project. The study is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project to determine the effects of cool season and warm season prescribed burning on an oak-savanna ecosystem common to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
    In 2007, the Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry asked the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Southwest Watershed Science Team to help establish baseline data for a long-term research on the newly established Hawai'ian Experimental Tropical Forest. A key question of the Southwest Watershed Science Team was whether LiDAR data could be used in establishing a stream gauging network and determining other channel characteristics.
    In the mid-2000's researchers reinstated research at Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed (BCEW) to collect data on climate, stream flow, vegetation, forest floor, and soil conditions. The Southwest Watershed Science Team and Northern Arizona University are exploring the effects of fuel treatments on stream flow, vegetation, forest floor, and soil conditions at the BCEW. The main goal of ongoing research is to provide land managers with information about the ecological effects of fuel treatments in the ponderosa pine forests and pinyon-juniper woodlands at a watershed scale.
    The Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed outside of Flagstaff, Arizona is home to over 20 years of hydrologic, climatic, vegetation, fuels, soils, and wildlife data. This data is informing research initiated in the mid-2000's by the Southwest Watershed Science Team and Northern Arizona University to explore the effects of fuel treatments on stream flow, vegetation, forest floor, and soil conditions.
    Forests in the western United States are more dense and have more down fuels now than under historic conditions, mostly due to anthropogenic influences such as grazing and fire-suppression. Managers have recognized this problem and have acted to reduce stem density and fuels by thinning, burning, and/or fuel treatments. This Fire and Fire-Surrogate (FFS) study evaluates prescribed fire, thinning, and various mechanical treatment methods for treating, removing, or using woody biomass.