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Goal: Deliver Benefits to the Public Sowing the seeds of a more diverse research workforce

In 2013, the Southern Research Station and Florida A&M University began working towards a shared vision—developing a future workforce as diverse as the people they serve. With numerous partners and working through the USDA Forest Service Civil Rights Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program, they created the Florida Forest Watershed Research Program (FFWRP). This program enriches research, education, and outreach in the greater Florida panhandle and throughout the South through its innovative partnering framework.

An evening sensor and probe fabrication session in preparation for another day of field instrumentation. From left to right, Chris Sobek (Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory hydrologic technician), Israel Ojo (recent M.S. graduate, from Florida A&M University) and Dr. Lucy Ngatia (assistant professor at Florida A&M University and Ojo’s thesis advisor). USDA Forest Service photo by Johnny M. Grace III.

Graduate and undergraduate students at Florida A&M University—an 1890 land-grant institution and a historically Black university—participate in the Florida Forest Watershed Research Program. This program connects students to research experiences and the Forest Service. One of the program goals is for the next generation of natural resource professionals to become as diverse as the people they serve. Their other goal is to adapt to—and mitigate—the consequences of changing landscapes and a warming climate.

Multiple students have been supported by the FFWRP in some way. So far, four participating students have earned Master of Science degrees. Their majors include agricultural science, civil and environmental engineering, and entomology. Their thesis work has focused on forest ecosystem restoration and water yield on the Ocala National Forest, agricultural management and climate change, non-invasive techniques for detecting termites, and more.

Through research, outreach, and technology transfer, the FFWRP advances forestry and natural resource management while enhancing efforts to seek, educate, employ, train, and develop students representing diverse groups. The impact of the FFWRP is expected to increase as the program continues to mature over the next decade. FFWRP continues to provide highly relevant and impactful research related to disturbances, land use, and water resource impacts through its innovative partnering framework.

Principal Investigators
Johnny M. Grace III, Research Engineer
4353 - Center for Forest Watershed Research
Strategic Program Areas
Invasive Species
Inventory and Monitoring
Water, Air, and Soil
Wildlife and Fish
Sustainable development tool using meta‐analysis and DPSIR Framework—Application to Savannah River Basin, U.S.
Land use change affects soil organic carbon: An indicator of soil health
A STELLA-based model to simultaneously predict hydrological processes, N uptake and biomass production in a eucalyptus plantation
Estimates of precipitation IDF curves and design discharges for road-crossing drainage structures: Case study in four small forested watersheds in the southeastern U.S.
Research Partners
Kelly Russell - National Forests in Florida, Southern Region
Jorge Guevera - Ocala National Forest, Southern Region
External Partners
Robert Taylor - Florida A&M University
Lucy Ngatia - Florida A&M University
Lambert Kanga - Florida A&M University
Muhammad Haseeb - Florida A&M University
Gang Chen - Florida A&M University
Anandhi Swamy - Florida A&M University
Florida A&M University