USDA Forest Service
 

Pacific Southwest Research Station

 
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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.

Research Topics Urban Forestry

Urban Forest ResearchWater

Urban forests reduce stormwater runoff, thereby slowing the flow of pollutants into streams, lakes and oceans. Tree crowns intercept rainfall, thereby reducing the amount of runoff. Tree roots make the ground more porous. As a result, water runoff from storms can be more readily absorbed by soil. In most cases, models of hydrological processes in forests cannot be applied to cities. Forest stands typically consist of fewer species than found in urban forests and trees in cities rarely occur in large groups of trees like those in large tracts of forested land. For this reason, scientists have developed rainfall interception models for single open-grown trees and for trees in urban watersheds. The references below contain additional information on the influence of urban forests on stormwater runoff.

Studies
  1. Is All Your Rain Going Down the Drain?
  2. How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff
  3. Performance of Engineered Soil and Trees in a Parking Lot Bioswale
  4. Rainfall Interception of Three Trees in Oakland, California
Products

Qingfu Xiao; E. Greg McPherson. 2009. Testing a bioswale to treat and reduce parking lot runoff. Center for Urban Forest Research, Davis, California - View Document [623.13 KB]

Xiao, Q. January 2008. Results of CLCA-funded bioretention study. The Cutting Edge - View Document [419.95 KB]

Xiao, Q.; McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Ustin, S.L. 2007. Hydrologic processes at the urban residential scale. Hydrological Processes 21:2174-2188 - View Document [383.21 KB]

Xiao, Q. October 2006. Pollutant Removal and Runoff Storage Testing of Three Engineered Soils (poster). - View Document [321.15 KB]

Geiger, J.R.and S.L. Gardner. 2006. Green Streets: Storm water management system for paved areas. Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service - View Document [141.25 KB]

Geiger, J.R.and S.L. Gardner. 2006. Oakland Watershed Restoration and Protection Study. Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service - View Document [100.58 KB]

Xiao, Q. 2003. Poster - Hydrologic Processes at the Resedential Scale. CALFED Science Conference Poster - View Document [203.61 KB]

Xiao Q., and E.G. McPherson. 2003. Rainfall interception by Santa Monica's municipal urban forest. Urban Ecosystems - View Document [131.6 KB]

Larsen, E.W., J. Fleckenstein and E.G. McPherson. 2001. Investigation into hydrologic modeling and the effect of urban forests on runoff quantity and quality. Davis, CA: University of California, Davis-Department of Geology

Xiao, Q., E.G. McPherson, S.L. Ustin, M.E. Grismer, and J.R. Simpson. 2000. Winter rainfall interception by two mature open grown trees in Davis, CA. Hydrological Processes. 14(4) :763-784 - View Document [637.65 KB]

Xiao, Q., E.G. McPherson, S.L. Ustin and M.E. Grismer. 2000. A new approach to modeling tree rainfall interception. Journal of Geophysical Research 105(D23) :29,173-29,188 - View Document [2.92 MB]

Xiao, Q. 1998. Rainfall interception by urban forests. Davis, CA: University of California. Ph.D. Dissertation - View Document [242.24 KB]

McPherson, E.G. 1998. Water meters: one opinion - trees may suffer. TREE Davis Newsletter: Branching Out. 5 :2

Xiao, Q., E.G. McPherson, S.L. Ustin, M.E. Grismer and J.R. Simpson. . A new rainfall interception measuring system. Presented at American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, Fall 1997 - View Document [81.22 KB]

Last Modified: Jun 1, 2018 12:20:28 PM