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    Author(s): J.A. Jones; G.L. Achterman; L.A. Augustine; I.F. Creed; P.F. Ffolliott; L. MacDonald; B.C. Wemple
    Date: 2009
    Source: Hydrological Processes
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (430.05 KB)

    Description

    Of all the ecological services of forests, a sustainable water supply may be the most important. Streamflow from forests provides two-thirds of fresh water supply in the United States. Removing forest cover temporarily increases the proportion of precipitation that becomes streamflow, and this effect has spurred political pressure to cut trees for the purpose of augmenting water supply, especially in western states where population and water demand are rising. However, this strategy is not sustainable: increases in flow are typically short-lived, and the combination of roads and repeated timber harvests can degrade water quality and increase vulnerability to flooding. Forest hydrology, the study of how water flows through forests, can help illuminate the connections between forests and water, but it must advance if it is to deal with current complex issues, including climate change, wildfires, changing patterns of development and ownership, and changing societal values. These are the main conclusions of a recent report released by the National Research Council, 'Hydrologic effects of a changing forest landscape' (NRC, 2008). This commentary summarizes and interprets findings from the report focusing on important implications for hydrologists.

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    Citation

    Jones, J.A.; Achterman, G.L.; Augustine, L.A.; Creed, I.F.; Ffolliott, P.F.; MacDonald, L.; Wemple, B.C. 2009. Hydrologic effects of a changing forested landscape--challenges for the hydrological sciences. Hydrological Processes. 23: 2699-2704.

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    Keywords

    Watershed management, forest practices, hydrology/water, forest policy, water yield, water quality

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