In tropical Indonesia, rainforests are managed by an intensive forest management system (IFMS). The IFMS has promoted selective logging for timber harvesting and intensive line planting to enrich the standing stock. The implementation of the IFMS has reduced the forest canopy cover, disturbed the surface soil, changed the soil hydraulic properties, and increased direct runoff and soil erosion. Investigation of the IFMS impact on soil hydraulic properties and the generation of surface runoff using a saturated hydraulic conductivity model is needed. Soil hydraulic properties were investigated on 11 plots, including one virgin forest plot and 10 plots at different operational periods of the IFMS. A two-dimensional saturated soil water flow simulation was applied to generate surface runoff from different periods of the IFMS. The main parameters of canopy cover, net rainfall, and saturated hydraulic conductivity were used in the simulations. A simulation scenario of a surface runoff hydrograph in different forest operations was used to analyze the river buffer effectiveness. The results showed that fundamental IFMS activities associated with mechanized selective logging and intensive line planting have reduced the soil hydraulic conductivity within the near-surface profile. The recovery time for near-surface Ks
on non-skidder tracks was between 10 and 15 years, whereas on the skidder tracks it was more than 20 years. Forest disturbances have altered the typical surface hydrological pathways, thereby creating the conditions for more surface runoff on disturbed surfaces than on undisturbed surfaces. Maintaining the buffer area is an effective means to reduce the peak discharge and surface runoff in the stream channel.
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