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Runoff Responses to Forest Thinning at Plot and Catchment Scales in a Headwater Catchment Draining Japanese Cypress Forest
Dung, B. X., T. Gomi, S. Miyata, R. C. SIDLE, K. Kosugi, AND Y. Onda. Runoff Responses to Forest Thinning at Plot and Catchment Scales in a Headwater Catchment Draining Japanese Cypress Forest. JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 444-445:51-62, (2012).
We examined the effect of forest thinning on runoff generation at plot and catchment scales in headwater basins draining a Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) forest. We removed 58.3% of the stems (corresponding to 43.2% of the basal area) in the treated headwater basin (catchment M5), and left the control catchment (M4) untreated. In both catchments, we monitored overland flow from hillslope plots and stream runoff from catchments at basin outlets over a 2-year pre-thinning period and a 2-year post-thinning period. Paired catchment analysis revealed that annual catchment runoff increased 240.7 mm after thinning. Delayed runoff increased significantly, while quick runoff followed similar patterns in the pre- and post-thinning periods. Flow duration in the ephemeral channel in catchment M5 increased from 56.9% in the pre-thinning period to 73.3% in the post-thinning period. Despite the changes in hydrological responses at the catchment scale, increases in overland flow were not significant. The increased availability of water in the soil matrix, caused by decreased interception loss and evapotranspiration, increased base flow after thinning. Based on the summarized data of previous studies together with this study, the effects of forest thinning on increases in runoff were less than partial harvesting in which the managed areas were concentrated within a watershed. We demonstrated that the effect of forest thinning was strongly scale dependent, an important finding for optimizing water and forest management in forested watersheds.