USDA Forest Service
 

Pacific Southwest Research Station

 

Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

About Us: Research Accomplishments 2012

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Experimental Areas and Research Partners

Recent activities and achievements on PSW's Experimental Areas

Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest
(STEF)

Prior to historical logging and fire suppression, forests of the Sierra Nevada were extremely heterogeneous, which helped make them resilient to fire and other threats. Today, forest management practices focus on improving the resilience of forest stands to large-scale crown fires. Mechanically thinning small trees while retaining larger ones is one way to improve resilience. But this type of thinning can lead to a relatively even forest structure—consisting of trees of the same age—which decreases the habitat diversity for wildlife and other forest species. PSW scientists recently performed variable-density thinning on the STEF in an effort to produce a more grouped arrangement of trees, which would create heterogeneity at a scale beneficial for wildlife and understory plant species, while simultaneously increasing resilience to wildfire.

PSW employees review a map of the Stanislaus-Tuolomne Experimental Forest. [Photo by Michael Sullivan] On-click enlarges photo.PSW employees review a map of the Stanislaus-Tuolomne Experimental Forest. [Photo by Michael Sullivan]

Learn more about this experimental area on the STEF pages of our website.

Kings River Experimental Watershed
(KREW)
This photo shows the removal, by hand, and measurement of the amount of sediment and wood that moves down a stream within a historic weir in the Teakettle Experimental Forest. It serves as part of the control stream or watershed for the experiment. [Photo by Amber Olsson] On-click enlarges photo.This photo shows the removal, by hand, and measurement of the amount of sediment and wood that moves down a stream within a historic weir in the Teakettle Experimental Forest. It serves as part of the control stream or watershed for the experiment. [Photo by Amber Olsson]

National Forests in the Sierra Nevada provide 45 percent of the surface water to California. All life needs water, and these waters support human activities, such as agriculture and recreation, as well as quality stream conditions for fish and wildlife. The Kings River Experimental Watersheds (KREW) project has watersheds at the rain-snow-interface zone and at the snow-dominated zone. The lower elevation site is representative of what the high elevation site is expected to become as climate changes. This research project compares the condition and processes of watersheds with forest management practices to ones that are undisturbed. No paired-watershed research on forest management existed in the Sierra Nevada before PSW established the KREW project in 2000.

Although all watersheds receive about the same amount of precipitation, those that are snow-dominated produce more streamflow over a longer time period. Sixty percent of the water in the streams comes from subsurface flow while over-land-snowmelt runoff contributes less than 40 percent. Trees at the rain-snow-interface zone are active all winter and use significantly more soil water than previously believed, thus allowing less subsurface water to enter streams. These results indicate that even if the same amount of precipitation occurs as climate changes in the southern Sierra Nevada, less of it will come as snow. Higher elevation trees will likely use more water resulting in less water flowing from headwater streams to valley rivers, and an earlier and shorter peak in streamflow. The current information on streamflow variability and water balance will be compared to data collected after tree thinning in 2012 to see if any detectable increase in water availability occurs from vegetation removal for forest restoration.

Learn more about this experimental area on the KREW pages of our website.

Learn more about the other PSW experimental areas and research natural areas.

Funding Partners for 2012

Cooperators Who Recieved Funding for Studies from PSW
Association of Fire Ecology
BMP Ecosciences
Cal Poly Corporation
California Conservation Corps
California Forestry Association
California State University
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Claremont Graduate University
Colorado State University
Conservation Biology Institute
Coral Reef Research Foundation
Cornell University
EcoLayers, Inc.
EM Hydrology, LLC
Environmental Incentives
Forest Research Agency, United Kingdom
Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization
Hui Kako’o O Laupahoehoe
Humboldt State University
Integral Ecology Research Center
Klamath Bird Observatory
Macgregor Bates
Michigan State University
North Carolina State University
Northern Arizona University
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State University
Phytosphere Research
PRBO Conservation Science
Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District
Spatial Informatics Group
Texas A&M (Texas AgriLife Research)
Texas Southern University
The Nature Conservancy
University of Alabama, Huntsville
University of British Columbia
University of California Cooperative Extension, Berkeley
University of California Cooperative Extension, Marin County
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Florida
University of Hawaii
University of Montana
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Wisconsin
Urban Tilth
US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
US Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
US Department of the Interior - Fish and Wildlife Service
US Department of the Interior - National Park Service
US Department of the Interior - US Geological Survey
Washington State University
Cooperators Who Provided Funding for Studies to PSW
Bat Conservation International
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE)
California Energy Commission
City and County of Denver
Forest Research and Management Institute, Romania
Iberdrola Renewables
ISCA Technologies Inc.
Lang, Railsback & Associates
New York Botanical Garden
Redwood Community Action Agency
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Save the Redwoods League
University of California, Berkeley
University of Nevada, Reno
US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service
US Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
US Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture
US Department of Defense - Army Corp of Engineers
US Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)
US Department of Energy
US Department of the Interior - Bureau of Land Management
US Department of the Interior - Fish and Wildlife Service
US Department of the Interior - National Park Service
US Department of the Interior - US Geological Service
Wood Buffalo Environmental Association
Pie chart representing the funding distributed in fiscal year 2012. The funding used internally was 20.9 million dollars. The funding awarded to cooperators was 5.3 million dollars. Of the 26.2 million dollars available to PSW, 20.2 percent was awarded as grants to our coorperators.
Last Modified: May 3, 2013 10:49:59 AM