School of Renewable Natural Resources

LSU Agricultural Center | LSU



What we do               

Our objective is to learn how hydrologic processes control forest and wetland ecosystems, and how management affects form and function.



Who we are               

Richard Keim, Professor


Current graduate students:

Mary Grace Lemon

Nguyen Nga

Alicia McAlhaney



Brandon Edwards


A few recent alumni:

Scott Allen

Karen Doerr Latuso

Lincoln Dugué

Yu-Hsin Hsueh

Erin Johnson



... maybe you? Graduate students needed






Interactions of forested wetlands with hydrology


Hydrological conditions in many forested wetlands are changing because of river flow regulation, channelization, and manipulation of sediment. How is this management affecting productivity of the forest? Do changes in plant communities in turn affect hydrology of the wetland?


Caddo Lake, Texas/Louisiana

Caddo Lake, Texas/Louisiana

► Productivity is greater in shallow water (right background) than in deep water (left) where trees, though more than 100 years older, are much smaller.


Atchafalaya River swamp, Louisiana

Atchafalaya River swamp, Louisiana

► Dying old-growth baldcypress are tangible examples of how changing site conditions affect ecosystems.



Baldcypress tree rings

► Dendrochronology is a tool to unravel the complex relationship between site and forest growth.



Connectivity of riverine wetlands to lowland rivers

Wetlands perform important functions in river hydrology and water quality, while also supporting important ecosystems. River management affects these processes by changing the rate and magnitude of water and nutrient exchanges between river channels and adjacent wetlands. It is important to develop tools that allow us to predict how management will affect the connections between wetlands and rivers and the ecosystem services those connections provide.


Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

► River water dominates off-channel wetlands during overbank flow, but are subsurface connections to groundwater important for water quality and aquatic ecosystems when river levels are lower?


Pearl River, Louisiana/Mississippi

Pearl River, Louisiana/Mississippi

► Seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods are regionally important wetlands. Flooding frequency and depth control, for example, site productivity, nutrient cycling, and plant species.



Forest Canopy Hydrology

Forest canopies are ecological hotspots and also important for controlling key processes in the water cycle. We lack tools to describe the details of how canopies intercept precipitation and route it to the ground or back to the atmosphere.



Iberville Parish, Louisiana

► The architectures of trees and the canopy determine how water is routed to the ground or back to the atmosphere. How will changes in forest structure change large-scale water cycles and the hydrology and chemistry of soils, hillslopes, and watersheds?


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Laboratory experiments; Douglas-fir and red alder

► Interactions between rain and canopy surfaces are complex. Current models depend on the concept of the canopy as a simple store, so cannot not reproduce complex behavior.


Remote sensing of forested wetlands  

Remote sensing allows integration of both ecological and hydrological information across a large area. We combine remotely sensed data with field data to address questions and a larger scale than would be otherwise possible.

Recent research results describe forested wetland conditions in the Mississippi River delta, focusing on forest sustainability.


Cypress-tupelo canopy conditions in the Verret Basin, Louisiana




Life in the swamp    


► Swamps are not lonely places




Last revised 6 Apr 2017



Disclaimer: Any statement or opinions included in these pages are not those of the LSU Agricultural Center, Louisiana State University, the LSU Board of Supervisors or the School of Renewable Natural Resources.