Aspen clearcutting increases snowmelt and storm flow peaks in north central Minnesota
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Water Resources Bulletin. 19(1): 59-67.
Clearcutting aspen from the upland portion of an upland peatland watershed in north central Minnesota caused snowmelt peak discharge to increase 11 to 143 percent. Rainfall peak discharge size increased as much as 250 percent during the first two years after clearcutting, then decreased toward precutting levels in subsequent years. Storm flow volumes from rain during the first two years increased as much as 170 percent but declined to preharvest volumes in the third year. Snowmelt volumes did not significantly change. Snowmelt peak discharge occurred about four to five days earlier after clearcutting, but the timing of storm flow from rainfall was not changed. Snowmelt peaks remained above, precut size for nine years after clearcutting on an area undergoing natural regeneration to aspen saplings. Partial cutting--up to approximately one-half of the watershed--reduced peak snowmelt discharge because melt was desynchronized in cleared and forested parts. Clearing more than 2/3 of the watershed caused snowmelt flood peak size to double during years with snow packs in excess of seven inches of water that remained until a day when maximum air temperatures exceeded 60°F.
Keywordsfloods, land use, peak discharge, Lake States, logging
Verry, Elon S.; Lewis, Jeffrey R.; Brooks, Kenneth N. 1983. Aspen clearcutting increases snowmelt and storm flow peaks in north central Minnesota. Water Resources Bulletin. 19(1): 59-67.