You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

New research reveals that mixed land use watersheds are most vulnerable to forest loss

Photo of Land use change is particularly influential in a mixed land use watershed, which is especially important for identifying areas where hydrologic responses are most sensitive to land use change. Even a moderate amount of conversion of forest to developed use in a mixed use watershed had a large effect on streamflow dynamics. Land use change is particularly influential in a mixed land use watershed, which is especially important for identifying areas where hydrologic responses are most sensitive to land use change. Even a moderate amount of conversion of forest to developed use in a mixed use watershed had a large effect on streamflow dynamics. Snapshot : Forest Service scientists developed a novel land use model and integrated modeling framework that represents a significant advancement for evaluating the potential effects of climate and land use change at scales necessary to inform policy and management decision-making. Their findings indicate that land use change was particularly influential in a mixed land use watershed, which is especially important for identifying areas where hydrologic responses are most sensitive to land use change. This study emphasizes the importance of integrated modeling to predict future water resources, including impacts from land use change, climate change, forest dynamics, and hydrological processes.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Vose, JamesCoulston, John
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1328

Summary

A key challenge for disentangling the relative impacts of climate change, land use change, and their interactions has been the inability to project future land use in a rational and robust way, at spatial scales relevant to ecosystem processes, watershed management, and water supply management. The land use model developed by Forest Service researchers at the agency’s Southern Research Staion as part of this study represents a significant advancement for evaluating the potential consequences of the combined effects of climate and land use change at scales necessary to inform policy and management decision-making. The study highlights several key points for future water yield and, in turn, water resource availability in the study region. For example, the researchers found that even a moderate amount of conversion of forest-to-developed use in a mixed use watershed had a large effect on streamflow dynamics. The findings indicate that land use change was particularly influential in a mixed land use watershed, which is especially important for identifying areas where hydrologic responses are most sensitive to land use change. This study emphasizes the importance of using integrated modeling to predict future water resources, including impacts from land use change, climate change, forest dynamics, and hydrological processes, under a unified framework.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • North Carolina State University