Research Topic

Forest Management Alters Forest Water Use and Drought Vulnerability

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About this Research Topic

Recent widespread, multi-year droughts throughout the globe have focused attention on how forest management actions might mitigate the impact of future droughts. In forests, droughts often result in declines in forest productivity, increases in tree mortality and the frequency and severity of disturbances ...

Recent widespread, multi-year droughts throughout the globe have focused attention on how forest management actions might mitigate the impact of future droughts. In forests, droughts often result in declines in forest productivity, increases in tree mortality and the frequency and severity of disturbances such as wildfire and disease. Droughts also impact the hydrology of forested systems reducing groundwater recharge and surface water flows. Forest management actions, and particularly forest density reduction, are frequently proposed as strategies to reduce vulnerability to these drought-related impacts to both forests and downslope water yield. But how effective are these strategies? Previous studies show a wide range of ecologic and hydrologic responses to forest management actions – and suggest that more work is needed to develop a mechanistic and predictive framework to support decisions about when, where, how and how often forest management practices might be effective at mitigating drought. How do species, climate, geophysical setting alter the effectiveness of forest management strategies? How do different types, and intensity of treatments – controlled burns, selective removal, even reseeding with drought tolerant species influence responses? How will climate change alter treatment effectiveness?

This Research Topic will present new research that seeks to answer these questions. We seek contributions that investigate how forest management actions impacts forest water use, productivity and/or vulnerability to disturbance (fire, disease) during and following droughts. We welcome studies from broad range of techniques including innovative measurements and modeling and from a range of disciplines – plant physiology, hydrology, forestry, ecosystem ecology and others. Submissions may be Original Research Articles or Review and Synthesis papers.


Keywords: Forest management, Forestry, Drought stress, Forest disturbance, Hydrology, Forest ecosystems, Fire, Fuel treatments


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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