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Extreme Event Effects

Beetle Kill
Beetle Kill

Extreme Event Effects concern the effects of storms, fires, and other extreme events on water, air, and soil processes and the effects they have on wild, managed, rural, and urban forest and rangeland sustainability; and the benefits they provide to society.

Disturbances such as fire, drought, insect and disease outbreaks, invasive plants and animals, and extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, windstorms, and ice storms, are all affecting forest and rangeland watersheds. Some of these processes are natural—fires caused by lightning, droughts, hurricanes, landslides—while others are caused by people—campfires carelessly allowed to escape or boats not cleaned or emptied that carry aquatic plants from one place to another where they don’t normally exist. Gaining a better understanding the long-term effects of disturbances—whatever they are and their causes—on water, air, and soil processes in forest and rangeland ecosystems is part of this goal. As disturbance patterns change, ecosystem structure and functioning change too.

With the increasing rate and variability of climate change, it is predicted that weather events such as hurricanes, storms triggering floods and landslides, ice storms, heat waves, and drought will occur with increasing intensity and frequency. These will lead to different watershed conditions. How well forest and rangeland ecosystems renew their structure and function after these disturbances is poorly understood. The answer will likely depend on the overall resilience of the specific ecosystem and the factors that promote watershed resiliency.

Frequency & Magnitude of Chronic & Extreme Events

Hurricane

We examine the timing, frequency, and magnitude of chronic and extreme events and their effects on water, air, and soil resources of wild, managed, rural, and urban forest, rangeland, and coastal ecosystems.

Representative Publications

Prevention & Mitigation of the Effects of Extreme Events

Predicted Damage

Our research develops and evaluates management options to prevent or mitigate the effects of extreme events on water, air, and soil in forest and rangeland watersheds.

Representative Publications

Restoration & Rehabilitation of Fire-damaged Ecosystems

We conduct research on the effects of fire on water, air, and soil resources of forest and rangeland watersheds and develop management options to restore or rehabilitate fire-damaged ecosystems.