THE ROLE OF FORESTED LANDSCAPES IN WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLANNING

Project Details

Description

In densely populated areas, like central New Jersey, forested landscapes are under constant development pressure. However, these landscapes also play important roles in urban hydrology and urban ecosystem function within the watershed by reducing erosion, storing stormwater, and filtering out pollutants. This project focuses on the roles of forests in urban watershed planning and management. The roles may vary. For example, forested wetlands store stormwater, thereby reducing potential flood levels; upland forests tend to hold precipitation on site, thereby reducing runoff and reducing a portion of the stormwater that could produce flood conditions. Because the roles vary, forests should be identified more specifically in watershed landuse/landcover analysis. But how much more specifically and based on which characteristics? This project investigates the relationships between forest structure and soil structure with a focus on how erosion and water absorption patterns can be predicted by forest structure. This information is needed by watershed planners and managers in order to correctly predict runoff rates and pollutant loads for forests in urban watersheds. These calculations are important in the protection of drinking water resources as well as to our understanding of ecological functions of urban forests. Invasive plants and a variety of pests and diseases may also be related to these patterns and discovering repeated appearances or distributions that can be explained by forest landcover/landuse patterns will be useful in forest health management. This project will lead to improved prediction and management of water quality and water quantity in New Jersey watersheds. Because a large portion of drinking water is extracted from surface water sources, this work is directly beneficial to protection of drinking water resources.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/15/136/30/16

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))

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