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Forests 2018, 9(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010046

Assessing the Impact of Forest Change and Climate Variability on Dry Season Runoff by an Improved Single Watershed Approach: A Comparative Study in Two Large Watersheds, China

1
School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
2
Center for Information Geoscience, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
3
Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Extensive studies on hydrological responses to forest change have been published for centuries, yet partitioning the hydrological effects of forest change, climate variability and other factors in a large watershed remains a challenge. In this study, we developed a single watershed approach combining the modified double mass curve (MDMC) and the time series multivariate autoregressive integrated moving average model (ARIMAX) to separate the impact of forest change, climate variability and other factors on dry season runoff variation in two large watersheds in China. The Zagunao watershed was examined for the deforestation effect, while the Meijiang watershed was examined to study the hydrological impact of reforestation. The key findings are: (1) both deforestation and reforestation led to significant reductions in dry season runoff, while climate variability yielded positive effects in the studied watersheds; (2) the hydrological response to forest change varied over time due to changes in soil infiltration and evapotranspiration after vegetation regeneration; (3) changes of subalpine natural forests produced greater impact on dry season runoff than alteration of planted forests. These findings are beneficial to water resource and forest management under climate change and highlight a better planning of forest operations and management incorporated trade-off between carbon and water in different forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: dry season runoff; deforestation; reforestation; climate variability dry season runoff; deforestation; reforestation; climate variability
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Hou, Y.; Zhang, M.; Meng, Z.; Liu, S.; Sun, P.; Yang, T. Assessing the Impact of Forest Change and Climate Variability on Dry Season Runoff by an Improved Single Watershed Approach: A Comparative Study in Two Large Watersheds, China. Forests 2018, 9, 46.

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