US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Dan Neary - Soil Scientist & Hydrologist

Daniel G. Neary

Senior Research Soil Scientist
2500 South Pine Knoll Drive
United States

Phone: 928-556-2176
Fax: 928-556-2130
Contact Daniel G. Neary

Current Research

  • Prescribed fire and wildfire impacts on forest soils and watersheds
  • Herbicide fate in New Zealand forest watersheds
  • Four Forests Restoration Initiative effects on water resources
  • Providing the most current information to forest and fire managers on the watershed impacts of wildfires, prescibed fires, and fuels treatments to guide NEPA analyses and management activities.
  • Ecological implications of forest soil disturbances
  • Best Management Practices for protecting water quality
Neary, Daniel G. 2019. Forest soil disturbance: Implications of factors contributing to the wildland fire nexus. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 83(Suppl1): S228-S243.

Research Interests

My main research interests are the impacts of prescribed fires and wildfires on watersheds and soils. I am also active in promoting the sustainable and environmentally sound use of forest bioenergy as a means of dealing with excessive fuel loadings in forests. The environmental fate and effects of forestry pesticides is of continuing interest.

Past Research

My past research has focused on water quality impacts of forest management practices. For my PhD dissertation, I examined the use of forest soils in Michigan for renovating municipal wastewater. During my post-doctoral work in New Zealand, I studied water quality responses of forest catchments converted from beech-podocarp to Pinus radiata. I worked in the Southeast USA for 15 years documenting the environmental fate of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides and participated in a South-wide Environmental Impact Study. After transferring to the Southwest in 1994, I concentrated on the water resources impacts of prescribed fires and wildfires. While I was in Australia in 2009 on a McMaster Fellowship, I worked on Best Management Practices for reducing erosion impacts of tree harvesting in agroforestry management systems. In 2015, I received an OICD Research Fellowship for research on the water quality effects of forestry herbicides. I conducted a cumulative effects analysis on two herbicides, used extensively in Pinus radiata regeneration. In 1997-1998, I collaborated with Dr. Peter Ffolliot and Dr. Leonard DeBano, University of Arizona, on preparation and publication of a reference book "Fire's Effects on Ecosystems"

Why This Research is Important

Water is everything! National Forests in the western USA are sources of good quality and sustainable water supply for over 3500 municipalities in the western USA. Many municipalities in the eastern USA also rely on forested watersheds for water supply. Fire is and will continue to be a major disturbance factor in forests of all regions of the North America. Fire conditions are changing in most areas of the continent withlonger fire seasons, and hotter, drier, and more windy weather conditions. Continuing research is needed to understand the impacts of these disturbances on watersheds and document the tradeoffs of mitigation measures like fuels thinning and prescribed fires. Utilization of Best Management Practices in forest management is key to protecting water quality and quantity.

I have over 440 publications dealing with many water-related and ecological topics. A few key publications are:

1. DeBano, L.F.; Neary, D.G.; Ffolliott, P.F. 1998. Fire's Effects on Ecosystems. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 333 p. 

2. Neary, D.G.; Klopatek, C.C.; DeBano, L.F.; Ffolliott, P.F. 1999. Effects of fire on belowground sustainability: A review and synthesis. Forest Ecology and Management. 122: 51-71.

3. Neary, D.G.; Ryan, K.C.; DeBano, L.F. (Editors) 2005 (Revised 2008). Fire effects on soil and water. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42, Volume 4: Fort Collins, CO. 250 p.

4. Neary, Daniel G.; Leonard, Jackson M. 2019. Physical vulnerabilities from wildfires: Flames, floods, and debris flows. In: Naser, Humood, ed. Human Impact on the Environment. London, England: IntechOpen Limited. 17 p.

5. Neary, Daniel G. 2019. Forest soil disturbance: Implications of factors contributing to the wildland fire nexus. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 83(Suppl1): S228-S243.

6. Neary, D. G. 2018. Wildfire contribution to desertification at local, regional, and global scales [Chapter 8]. In: Squires, Victor Roy; Ariapour, Ali, eds. Desertification: Desertification: Past, Current and Future Trends. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 199-222.

7. Neary, Daniel G.; Baillie, Brenda R. 2016. Cumulative effects analysis of the water quality risk of herbicides used for site preparation in the Central North Island, New Zealand. Water. 8: 573.

8. Neary, Daniel G. 2015. Best practices guidelines for managing water in bioenergy feedstock production. Report 2015:TR02. International Energy Agency, Bioenergy Task 43. 124 p.


  • Michigan State University, B.S. Forestry 1969
  • Michigan State University, M.S. Forest Ecology 1972
  • Michigan State University, Ph.D. Forest Soils and Forest Hydrology 1974

Professional Experience

  • Research Soil Scientist GS-15 to ST, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, Arizona
    1994 - Current
  • Research Soil Scientist GS-11 to GS-15, Intensive Management Practices Assessment Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    1981 - 1994
  • Research Soil Scientist GS-11, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Franklin, NC
    1978 - 1981
  • NRAC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, New Zealand Forest Research Institute, Rotorua, New Zealand
    1974 - 1978

Professional Organizations

  • Soil Science Society of America, Member, Fellow, Chair (1974 - Current)

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Last updated on : 11/03/2020