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Open AccessArticle

Influences of Land Use Change on Baseflow in Mountainous Watersheds

College of Resources and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ge Sun and James M. Vose
Forests 2016, 7(1), 16;
Received: 18 September 2015 / Revised: 17 December 2015 / Accepted: 24 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: baseflow; land use; forest; farmland; urban land; hydrological model; watershed management baseflow; land use; forest; farmland; urban land; hydrological model; watershed management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Huang, X.-D.; Shi, Z.-H.; Fang, N.-F.; Li, X. Influences of Land Use Change on Baseflow in Mountainous Watersheds. Forests 2016, 7, 16.

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