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A summary of water yield experiments on hardwood forested watersheds in northeastern United States

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Hornbeck, J. W.; Adams, M. B.; Corbett, E. S.; Verry, E. S.; Lynch, J. A.

Year Published

1995

Publication

In: Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Fosbroke, Sandra L. C., ed. Proceedings, 10th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1995 March 5-8; Morgantown, WV.: Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-197. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 282-295

Abstract

This paper summarizes and compares long-term changes in annual water yield following cutting experiments at four locations in northeastern United States. Substantial increases in water yield of up to 350 mm yr-1 were obtained in the first year by clearfelling hardwood forest vegetation and controlling regrowth with herbicides. Commercial clearcutting of hardwoods with natural regrowth resulted in smaller initial increases in water yield of 110 to 250 mm yr-1. This range in response was due to differences in precipitation and configuration of cuttings. Unless regrowth was controlled with herbicides, yield increases declined quickly after cutting, seldom persisting for more than 10 years. However, yield increases were readily extended over 20 years or more with intermediate cuttings and/or repeated control of regrowth with herbicides. Nearly all increases in water yield occur during summer and early autumn. Changes in species composition after forest cutting on several study watersheds eventually resulted in decreased water yields compared to those from uncut, control watersheds. Results are discussed in terms of implications for surface water supplies, global climate change, nutrient cycling, hydrologic modeling, and long-term research.

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Citation

Hornbeck, J. W.; Adams, M. B.; Corbett, E. S.; Verry, E. S.; Lynch, J. A. 1995. A summary of water yield experiments on hardwood forested watersheds in northeastern United States. In: Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Fosbroke, Sandra L. C., ed. Proceedings, 10th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1995 March 5-8; Morgantown, WV.: Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-197. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 282-295

Last updated on: September 27, 2007