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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2017

  • Title: Forests and Water - Natural and Built Infrastructures
  • Primary Author: Andrew Guswa (Smith College)
  • Abstract:

    Among water-resources engineers, there is a growing recognition of the role that landscapes and ecosystems play with respect to human infrastructure. Expanding beyond plot-scale green infrastructure, such ideas include riparian buffers for nutrient management, barrier islands for flood protection, and forests for flow regulation and water filtration. Our understanding of such infrastructures is still limited, however, and a challenge for designers and engineers is to move beyond logic-based decisions to science-based decisions. Sites such as Harvard Forest have a critical role to play in developing the understanding needed for a real integration of natural and built infrastructures.

    As an example, with respect to water supply, forested watersheds provide a flow-regulation service, the value of which depends upon the desired supply and the presence of reservoir storage. Simple models can bound the potential effects of landscape change on water supplies (Figure 1). Building on this, a subset of us who are engaged with Harvard Forest’s Research Coordination Network (Scenarios, Services, and Society) are investigating the role that natural infrastructure plays in water-supply systems, including identification of benefits and beneficiaries beyond those directly served by the water system.

  • Research Category: Watershed Ecology, Conservation and Management

  • Figures:
  • Figure1_Guswa.pdf