Publication Details

Detecting the effects of forest harvesting on streamflow using hydrologic model change detection

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Zegre, Nicolas P.; Som, Nicholas A.

Year Published

2011

Publication

In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 389-397.

Abstract

Knowledge of the effects of forest management on hydrology primarily comes from paired-catchment study experiments. This approach has contributed fundamental knowledge of the effects of forest management on hydrology, but results from these studies lack insight into catchment processes. Outlined in this study is an alternative method of change detection that uses a simple rainfall-runoff model to generate hypotheses about the impact of forest harvesting on streamflow processes. We develop and apply our approach in a managed headwater catchment in the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia. Monte-Carlo simulations are used to generate hydrologic model parameter distributions prior to and following clearcut harvesting. Differences in the distributions of pre- and post-harvest models are proxy for changes in the catchment processes involved in streamflow generation. Changes in model parameters show that harvesting increased the volume of water contributed to catchment storage, thereby increasing basefl ow volume, decreasing the time for the catchment to drain, and increasing stormflow response. The change detection approach presented in this study is a useful way to advance our understanding of catchment processes and the effects of disturbance on hydrology.

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Citation

Zegre, Nicolas P.; Som, Nicholas A. 2011. Detecting the effects of forest harvesting on streamflow using hydrologic model change detection. In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 389-397.

Last updated on: June 20, 2011