It is crucial for effective water resource management in a watershed that the relationship between land use changes and baseflow. This study quantifies the influence of land use changes on the baseflow dynamics using a hydrological model and partial least-squares (PLS) regression in the Upper Du Watershed (8961 km2
), China. Our study suggests that forest can be a major factor with a negative impact on the baseflow. Additionally, farmland and urban land have second-order negative effects on the baseflow dynamics. Baseflow increases when forest is replaced by farmland because the evapotranspiration (ET), associated with baseflow recession, is weaker and shorter in duration in the farmland than in the forest. The conversion of forest to urban land increases baseflow owing to the presence of non-contributing impervious surfaces in urban areas, which prevents the urban land from intercepting the baseflow discharge. These results indicate that the baseflow dynamics are closely associated with varying land use types within a watershed. Thus, this study is intended to provide a deeper understanding of the baseflow processes and useful quantitative information on land use factors in watersheds, enabling more informed decision-making in forest and watershed management.
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