One kilometer. Or roughly ten football fields. That’s the extent of the area over which Karla Jarecke can feasibly navigate her way through the trailless HJ Andrews Experimental forest to collect the data she needs in a typical day of field work. Experimental watersheds like the HJ Andrews forest (link here) were established initially to understand how clear-cutting influenced forest drainage. This was during the time when timber-take was increasing and we still had little understanding on its ecosystem effects. Karla’s work is also forward-thinking, but less on the lines of what will happen to drainage when trees are removed and more focused on understanding the availability of water for trees to use now and in the future. She wants to know what influence topography has on plant water availability in mountainous landscapes. Karla explains that there have been long-standing assumptions surrounding elevation gradients and their control on water availability in a forest system. This understanding has led to modeling tools currently used to extrapolate soil moisture across a landscape. But so far, her data show huge variability on surprisingly small scales that cannot be explained by gradient alone. This indicates that there are other controls on the spatial availability of soil moisture in such mountainous terrain. This information builds on the incredible sixty-year data set that has been collected on soil moisture within HJ Andrews, but with a new perspective. Hosted by Adrian Gallo and Chelsea Behymer.
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This show was founded in 2012 by Joey Hulbert and Zhian Kamvar. It has been made possible by all the current and former hosts of the show, Orange Media Network, the KBVR-FM students and staff, and of course the amazing graduate students at Oregon State University.