Water 2013, 5(2), 728-746; doi:10.3390/w5020728
Review

Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Forest Change and Climatic Variability to Hydrology in Large Watersheds: A Critical Review of Research Methods

1,* email, 2,3email and 2email
Received: 1 April 2013; in revised form: 20 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 13 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
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Abstract: Forest change and climatic variability are two major drivers for influencing change in watershed hydrology in forest–dominated watersheds. Quantifying their relative contributions is important to fully understand their individual effects. This review paper summarizes the progress on quantifying the relative contributions of forest or land cover change and climatic variability to hydrology in large watersheds using available case studies. It compared pros and cons of various research methods, identified research challenges and proposed future research priorities. Our synthesis shows that the relative hydrological effects of forest changes and climatic variability are largely dependent on their own change magnitudes and watershed characteristics. In some severely disturbed watersheds, impacts of forest changes or land use changes can be as important as those from climatic variability. This paper provides a brief review on eight selected research methods for this type of research. Because each method or technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, combining two or more methods is a more robust approach than using any single method alone. Future research priorities include conducting more case studies, refining research methods, and considering mechanism-based research using landscape ecology and geochemistry approaches.
Keywords: forest change; climate variability; large watershed hydrology; relative contribution; research methods
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, X.; Liu, W.; Zhou, P. Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Forest Change and Climatic Variability to Hydrology in Large Watersheds: A Critical Review of Research Methods. Water 2013, 5, 728-746.

AMA Style

Wei X, Liu W, Zhou P. Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Forest Change and Climatic Variability to Hydrology in Large Watersheds: A Critical Review of Research Methods. Water. 2013; 5(2):728-746.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Xiaohua; Liu, Wenfei; Zhou, Peicong. 2013. "Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Forest Change and Climatic Variability to Hydrology in Large Watersheds: A Critical Review of Research Methods." Water 5, no. 2: 728-746.


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