At the waters edge -- Managing riparian forests

Healthy riparian forests act as vital filters to protect water quality and as a reservoir of species diversity. The eastern United States contains one third of the nation's forest land and half of the nation's forest water. Until now, solid information on how to protect and manage these valuable lands was missing.

In a recently published book, Riparian Management in Forests of the Continental Eastern United States, edited by Forest Service scientists, Elon S. Verry, James W. Hornbeck, and C. Andrew Dolloff, nearly 50 experts describe state-of-the-art procedures for managing forested riparian areas. The publication also provides managers and policy makers with tools to develop site specific guidelines for addressing eastern riparian landscapes characterized by fragmented ecosystems, fragmented ownership, and diverse interest groups.

"Fortunately our nation has come to understand the values of riparian areas, and the importance of providing management. This summary of science and management for riparian areas will help insure the health of our nation's waters and the lands that border them", states Phil Janik, Deputy Chief and CFO, USDA Forest Service.

Verry, Research Forest Hydrologist at the North Central Research Station, summarized the major themes of the book:

• Riparian forest management is concerned with both the water as well as the forest and protecting the essential links between land and water that ensures quality water and quality aquatic habitats

• Human values and desires shape the way riparian areas are managed and shared stewardship is especially appropriate to find common ground

• Riparian areas should receive "active" management, with "hands-off" being but one option.

The book is the result of the "Riparian Management in Forests" symposium held in Columbus, Ohio in March 1998. Forty-eight authors were selected to present their concepts of riparian management in each of 19 subject areas. Over 250 pa

Contact: Tim Swedberg
North Central Research Station

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