The UCM Forest Ecohydrology & Watershed Systems (FEWS) Lab led by Dr. Safeeq, professional researcher, Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) & Adjunct Professor, School of Engineering, University of California-Merced. Our research team includes undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and staff research associates. You are welcome to join our team, please check out the opportunities page for current openings in FEWS lab.

Research Theme: Water is at the core of the most pressing sustainability challenges facing our generation. According to the United Nations, over 40 percent of the global population is affected by water scarcity and at the same time, over 70 percent of all deaths related to natural disasters are attributed to flood and other water-related disasters. Nearly 25 percent of the global population is currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge. Consequently, aquifers are being exploited, wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, and rivers are no more reaching the sea. These trends are likely to persist and intensify as global demand for water keeps rising. Climate change poses an additional threat to both water quantity and quality, which directly relates to maintaining sustainable food production, ecosystem health, economic growth, and overall human well-being. Understanding and predicting patterns of water availability and the extent of the anthropogenic impact, both direct and indirect, on past, present, and future water availability is fundamental to societies and ecosystem. The overarching goal of my research team is to elucidate and investigate the complex relationships between water, vegetation, and climate in a rapidly changing environment, and examine new management approaches for improving forest health and sustaining water resources in the future. We rely heavily on geospatial and numerical modeling tools to integrate and analyze satellite, climate, hydrology, and biophysical data over a range of spatial and temporal scales. We also use headwater scale in-situ experimental data on evaluating forest restoration impact for modem parametrization and verification. See the list below for active projects:

Here is a current list of projects (see the research tab for project details):  

  • Western watershed enhancement program hemlock forest-restoration project (Funded by the Bureau of Reclamation)
  • Assessment of climate change effects and impacts on the hydrology of southern Sierra Nevada basins (Funded by the CA Department of Water Resources)
  • Forests and water in changing climate: the role of forest management in keeping the balance (Funded by the US Forest Service)
  • The UC WATER security and sustainability research initiative (Funded by the UC Office of the President)
  • Kings River Experimental Watershed (KREW) forest health and research project (Funded by the US Forest Service)