- Quantification of water balance (particularly evapotranspiration) and nutrient balance of drained managed loblolly pine ( Pinus taeda , L.) forests and intercropping of cellulosic biofuel-based switchgrass ( Panicum Virgatum L. ) in between pine beds at Weyerhaeuser's long-term Carteret Forest Management Site, Coastal North Carolina using a paired watershed approach; - Quantification/Estimates of evapotranspiration of loblolly pine at various stand ages, switchgrass, and its intercropping with pine using high resolution remote senisng-based images, orthophotos, and LiDAR data with ground-truthing at Weyerhaeuser's North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi experimental study sites - Quantification of water and nutrient balance, flow/loading dynamics of low-gradient coastal forests at USDA Forest Service Santee Experimental Forest, Coastal South Carolina using a paired watershed approach
- Hydrology of low-gradient managed forests and naturally drained forests - Hydrology of forested wetlands - Specific research on runoff and evapotranspiration dynamics of coastal forests (freshwater and tidal) - Hydrologic and water quality studies on effects of land and water management, prescribed/wild fire, land use change, climate variability and change, sea level rise, and extreme events on low-gradient coastal landscapes from freshwater to tidally affected landscapes using monitoring and modeling approaches - Assessment of long-term trends and variability in hydrology and their potential applications in developing and testing hydrology and water quality models for terrestrial freshwater lands linked to the downstream tidal marshes/estuaries - Application of remote sensing tools and products for watershed hydrologic modeling - Specific modeling tools for research: DRAINMOD, SWAT, MIKESHE, and SWMM
importance of research
Landuse and landcover change dramatically affects the water yield and contaminant loads. Depletion of wetlands along the Southeastern coastlines primarily due to urban sprawl is becoming a bigger environmental threat causing loss of habitats, potential flooding, and degradation of water quality. Hydrology in terms of water table below ground surface is one of the primary indicators of wetland hydrology restoration. The long-term water table data analysis is critical for understanding the seasonal and temporal variability, frequency and duration of moisture/ponding on various types of soils and vegetation. Information derived by using the long-term data from the Santee Experimental Forest watersheds helped reveal the critical phenomenon on a possible flow reversal after Hurricane Hugo (1989) on these watersheds due to temporal and spatial change in vegetation. Quantity and quality of seasonal freshwater outflows can also be an indicator of whether saltwater intrusion has occurred and the sufficient freshwater inflows are discharged for maintenance of low-salinity waters in estuarine areas with fisheries habitat. Such information is critical for area land owners, land developers/managers including the National Forest in the region for assessment and restoration of ecosystem functions, and adapting needed management practices. While the LT data and models from artificially drained watersheds at Weyerhaeuser’s experimental pine forest in North Carolina provided a baseline information on hydrology and water quality of managed pine forests, effects of water and silvicultural treatments used for productivity, these LT data with current monitoring have also become a foundation to test hypotheses on effects of managing pine forest intercropped with switchgrass (cellulosic biofuel). Recent developments in changing environment will put even more demands on such data for generating new hypotheses on water and energy demand/supply, climate change and sea level rise, and eco-system services. Due to limited resources for monitoring for a long period and of all environmental variables models are being used to quantify the water balance, water table and runoff dynamics, biogeochemical cycling including the GHGs and contaminant transport, and their complex interactions with climate, topography, soil, vegetation, and land use at spatial and temporal scales at which monitoring is sometimes impractical.
1992- 2002: Field istrumentation, data monitoring, hydrologic & hydraulic analyses, design of data acquisition system and database management for hydro-meteorologic and water quality data including GIS related spatial data; hydrologic and water quality modeling of large watershed with complex landuse in the coastal plain of eastern North Carolina; Field experimental studies and modeling of hydrology and water quality of poorly drained loblolly pine stands during its life cycle; Study of ditch and canal hydraulics, flow measuring and control structures and their effects on hydrology, water management and water quality of the poorly drained soils on wet flats; Development of a comprehensive data base linked with GIS on hydro-meteorology, soils, vegetation, water quality, water and land use management practices for a complex coastal watershed; Data analyses and development, evaluation and modification of hydrologic/ water quality models (distributed and lumped) for drained forested and agricultural watersheds; Study of hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality impacts of various land and water management practices on drained agricultural and forested stands on the field as well as watershed scale; Development of World Wide Web Home Page in the Internet http:// www.bae.ncsu.edu/research/soil_water/www/watmngmnt/) for Water Management Research Program led by Dr. Wayne Skaggs; Experimental Study, development and evaluation of evapotranspiration models as related to different vegetative stands; Evaluation and identification of wetland hydrology;