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Open AccessArticle

Hydrologic Impacts of Land Use Changes in the Sabor River Basin: A Historical View and Future Perspectives

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Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real Ap. 1013, Portugal
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Chemistry Research Centre, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real Ap. 1013, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1464; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071464
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 15 July 2019
The study area used for this study was the Sabor river basin (located in the Northeast of Portugal), which is composed mostly for agroforestry. The objectives were to analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of hydrological services that occurred due to land use changes between 1990 and 2008 and to consider two scenarios for the year 2045. The scenarios were, firstly, afforestation projection, proposed by the Regional Plan for Forest Management, and secondly, wildfires that will affect 32% of the basin area. In this work, SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was used to simulate the provision of hydrological services, namely water quantity, being calibrated for daily discharge. The calibration and validation showed a good agreement for discharge with coefficients of determination of 0.63 and 0.8 respectively. The land use changes and the afforestation scenario showed decreases in water yield, surface flow, and groundwater flow and increases in evapotranspiration and lateral flow. The wildfire scenario, contrary to the afforestation scenario, showed an increase in surface flow and a decrease in lateral flow. The Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) changes in 2000 and 2006 showed average decreases in the water yield of 91 and 52 mm·year−1, respectively. The decrease in water yield was greater in the afforestation scenario than in the wildfires scenario mainly in winter months. In the afforestation scenario, the large decrease varied between 28 hm3·year−1 in October and 62 hm3·year−1 in January, while in the wildfires scenario, the decrease was somewhat smaller, varying between 15 hm3·year−1 in October and 49 hm3·year−1 in January. View Full-Text
Keywords: SWAT; water balance components; Land Use and Land Cover changes; wildfires; afforestation SWAT; water balance components; Land Use and Land Cover changes; wildfires; afforestation
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Santos, R.M.B.; Sanches Fernandes, L.F.; Vitor Cortes, R.M.; Leal Pacheco, F.A. Hydrologic Impacts of Land Use Changes in the Sabor River Basin: A Historical View and Future Perspectives. Water 2019, 11, 1464.

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