Smith Fellows
Smith Fellow


In the past 30 years, land management protocols, climate change, and land use have radically changed the frequency and magnitude of disturbance regimes within forest ecosystems. Landscape-scale disturbances such as drought, wildfires, and insect outbreaks can radically change forest structure resulting in impacts on watersheds that may affect water quantity/quality for natural resource use. Although many studies exist analyzing the impacts of forest disturbances on a single or limited subset of watersheds, a national scale analysis with an increased sample set can vastly improve inferences and better characterize general patterns of watershed impacts. This project proposes to develop an innovative method to detect forest cover and disturbance over time and then use outputs to predict potential hydrologic responses. The results of this project will provide a critical tool for natural resource managers in developing strategic management options in regional forest and water conservation plans.