Relationship between watershed health, forests explored in new report

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June 28, 2010 -- The U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station has published a report about the role of forests in the stewardship of water in a changing climate. The report is available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/gtr_812.pdf and will be available in print beginning July 9.

Titled Water, Climate Change, and Forests: Watershed Stewardship for a Changing Climate, the publication describes healthy, resilient watersheds as a primary strategy for sustaining ecosystems and the clean, abundant water they provide.

"Water from forested lands supports people, ecosystems, agriculture, industry, and energy production and is immensely valuable and irreplaceable," said Michael Furniss, a hydrologist with the PNW Research Station and lead author of the publication. "With a changing climate, the need for stewardship of forested watersheds to secure high-quality water supplies and healthy aquatic ecosystems is more important than ever."

The report's 13 primary authors and more than 40 contributors and reviewers are Forest Service earth scientists and aquatic biologists who worked for two years to develop the technical details for managing watersheds for resilience and for protecting water.

"We face many serious challenges in managing forested watersheds, and it is notable that the Forest Service has remarkable expertise and experience to do this work," Furniss said. "The Forest Service has over 800 water and aquatic ecosystem specialists posted in hundreds of locations all over the country, a robust research base and capacity, and decades of experience in watershed stewardship."

Printed copies of the report can be requested after July 9 by e-mailing pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us and referencing "PNW-GTR-812."

The Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and has 11 laboratories and centers in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.

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