Healthy forests are critically important to protecting water resources and sustaining them in the future. Approximately 50 percent of the freshwater resources in Texas originate on forestlands, which provide a continuous and abundant supply of clean water. In fact, many state and national forests were established to protect the country’s water sources.

    Water Resources and BMP Publications

    Forest and Water Relationship

    Forests provide a number of essential economic, social and environmental functions in addition to supplying the cleanest water of any land use. They absorb rainfall, refill groundwater aquifers, slow and filter stormwater runoff, mitigate erosion, reduce flooding and maintain watershed stability and resilience. These watershed ecosystem services provided by Texas forests are valued at $13.2 billion annually.

    Forests and Water – Helping to Meet the South’s Water Needs Today and Tomorrow (PDF, 5MB)

    Future Challenges


    While the benefits provided by forests are numerous, they are constantly at risk. Texas’ population is expected to nearly double over the next 50 years, resulting in an overall increase in water demand. Compounding this issue is that growth generally occurs at the expense of forestlands, which are already under stress from the effects of drought, wildfire and insect and disease problems, further impacting water quality and supply. As the current drought has demonstrated, during extreme periods, Texas does not have enough water to meet the projected demand. Water availability will be the limiting factor affecting future growth and prosperity in Texas. 

    Creative Solutions

    Given the challenges facing water managers in Texas, creative solutions that benefit the state’s trees and forests, while simultaneously sustaining the region’s water supplies, are needed. Supporting healthy and sustainable forests, in both urban and rural areas, is a cornerstone solution to maintain their functionality and the many benefits, services and products these lands provide. 


     + Urban Forests and Water

    Trees and forests within urban and community areas of the state serve numerous functions, including mitigating flooding potential, managing stormwater runoff and protecting water quality. TFS is working with municipalities to investigate how trees can be incorporated into green infrastructure and low impact development plans. Strategic partnerships are also being developed with water utilities to identify and implement forest conservation initiatives to protect source water.


    Urbanization and Water Demands in Texas (PDF, 150KB)
    Urban Forests Protect Water Resources (PDF, 135KB)


     + Rural Forests and Water


    Private land stewardship, through the implementation of Best Management Practices, is one of the principle means of protecting water resources. BMPs are voluntary conservation practices designed to protect soil and water resources. Treating water at its origin, and not just its destination, is an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way to provide water for Texas. 
    Texas A&M Forest Service actively works with natural resource professionals, landowners and contractors across the state to implement BMPs and practice land stewardship. Special focus is directed to lands impacted by wildfires and other disasters in order to prevent further site degradation.


    Wildfire Recovery – Protecting Your Property from Soil Erosion (PDF, 286KB)
    Short-term BMPs Following a Wildfire (PDF, 807KB)
    Wildfire Recovery Soil Erosion Control Practice Guide (PDF, 720KB)


     + Contact


    Hughes Simpson
    Program Coordinator
    200 Technology Way, Suite 1281
    College Station, TX 77845
    979-458-6630 office
    979-458-6633 fax  

    Todd Thomas
    Staff Forester
    P.O. Box 310
    Lufkin, TX 75902-0310
    936-639-8180 office
    936-639-8185 fax

    Donna Work
    P.O. Box 310
    Lufkin, TX 75902-0310
    936-639-8191 office
    936-639-8185  fax 


    Lori Hazel
    Staff Forester
    101 South Main Street
    Temple, TX 76501
    254-742-9874 office



    Hannah Cruce
    Staff Forester
    2040 North Loop West, Ste. 380
    Houston, TX 77018
    713-688-1248 office
    713-688-8947 fax
    Jeff McFall
    Staff Forester
    15110 Jones Maltsberger, Suite 103
    San Antonio, Texas 78247
    (210) 213-9876 office