A Field-Based Experiment on the Influence of Stand Density Reduction on Watershed Processes at the Caspar Creek Experimental Watersheds in Northern California

Salli F. Dymond, Paul W. Richardson, Lynn A. Webb, Elizabeth T. Keppeler, Ivan Arismendi, Kevin D. Bladon, Peter H. Cafferata, Helen E. Dahlke, David L. Longstreth, Patrick K. Brand, Peter R. Ode, Christopher G. Surfleet, Joseph W. Wagenbrenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Forests are integral to sustaining clean water resources and healthy watersheds. It is critical, therefore, that managers fully understand the potential impacts of their actions on myriad ecosystem services provided by forested watersheds. While forest hydrologists have long used paired-watershed experiments to elucidate the complex interactions between forest management and watershed biogeochemical and ecohydrological processes, there is still much to learn from these studies. Here, we present an overview of the process for designing a paired-watershed study using a large harvesting experiment at the Caspar Creek Experimental Watersheds in coastal California as an example. We detail many considerations when designing such an experiment and highlight the wide range of scientific investigations that are part of the larger experiment. Paired watershed studies are a great example of community engaged scholarship and offer the unique opportunity to work with land managers to solve applied problems while simultaneously discovering new fundamental knowledge about how watersheds function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number691732
JournalFrontiers in Forests and Global Change
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The rich history of research and management at Caspar Creek is the result of the efforts of many scientists, resource managers, and students over the past six decades. We are grateful for the efforts of Dr. Bob Ziemer, Dr. Tom Lisle, Dr. Matt Busse, Rand Eads, and Jack Lewis to establish the Third Experiment. Thank you to Dr. Leslie Reid for her contributions to experimental design and context analysis. Special thanks to the USFS PSW Caspar and CAL FIRE field crews and to Kirk O’Dwyer for developing the Timber Harvest Plan. Thanks to Dr. Jeff Hatten, Oregon State University, for leading the sediment fingerprinting study. Finally, thank you to CAL FIRE and the USDA Forest Service for continued funding of this long-term research study. Funding. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the USDA Forest Service provided funding for the experimental harvest and monitoring. Additional studies were supplemented with funding provided by NSF-EAR-1807165.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Dymond, Richardson, Webb, Keppeler, Arismendi, Bladon, Cafferata, Dahlke, Longstreth, Brand, Ode, Surfleet and Wagenbrenner.


  • catchment
  • ecohydrology
  • forest hydrology
  • forest management
  • timber harvest


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