Volume 8, Issue 1 - March/April 2015
Eastern Threat Center Highlights
New Information about U.S. Forest Resources Supports Long-Term Assessment and Planning
Every five years, the U.S. Forest Service updates the Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, a report on the status of forest resources across the nation. To support the 2015 update, Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists coordinated a technical document describing recent trends in forest area, growth, and mortality, as well as timber product outputs and other activities. Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters contributed maps and information about forest fragmentation to the Forest Atlas of the United States, a source used by the SRS scientists who developed the technical document. As part of the larger RPA Assessment effort, Riitters is responsible for reporting current landscape patterns and forest fragmentation based on data from the National Land Cover Database and Forest Inventory and Analysis plots in addition to the status of protected area designations of all lands in the United States. The 2015 RPA Assessment is expected to be released in early 2016. Read more in CompassLive…
Report Provides New Level of Detail about Water from Forested Lands
For over 19 million people in the South – roughly the population of Florida – clean water begins in the region’s national forests. Authors from the Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station, including scientists from the Eastern Threat Center, released a report on the amount of surface drinking water originating from national forest lands in the South. Using the Water Supply Stress Index (WaSSI) model and information on surface water intakes, researchers determined that 8 trillion gallons of water flow from southern national forests each year to serve the needs of more than 2,100 communities and cities, including Houston, Atlanta, Knoxville, and Birmingham. Read more in CompassLive...
Urbanization Impacts Stream Water Quantity and Quality
Since the 1950s, urban areas have increased by more than 400 percent and are now home to 80 percent of Americans. Urbanization affects streams by altering microclimate, surface water dynamics, groundwater recharge, stream geomorphology, biogeochemistry, and stream ecology. These changes impact both water quantity and quality (nutrient, sediment, and pollutant levels), threatening water resources in urban areas. Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun and a partner from the Southern Research Station's Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory recently reviewed urbanization and its impacts on water and published their findings in the Water Resources Impact journal. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Impervious surfaces like pavement can cause water to flow into streams more rapidly, carrying pollutants such as sediments along with it. Photo by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.