Stream temperature is a critical parameter for understanding hydrological and biological processes in stream ecosystems. Although a large body of research has addressed the effects of forest harvesting on stream temperature, less is known about the responses of stream temperature to the practice of strip-thinning, which produces more coherent patches of shade and sunlight areas. In this study, we examined stream temperature response to 50% strip-thinning in a 17 ha headwater catchment. The thinning lines extended through the riparian zone. Paired-catchment analysis was applied to estimate changes in daily maximum, mean, and minimum stream temperatures for the first year following treatment. Significant effects on daily maximum stream temperature were found for April to August, ranging from 0.6 °C to 3.9 °C, similar to the magnitude of effect found in previous studies involving 50% random thinning. We conducted further analysis to identify the thermal response variability in relation to hydrometeorological drivers. Multiple regression analysis revealed that treatment effects for maximum daily stream temperature were positively related to solar radiation and negatively related to discharge. Frequent precipitation during the summer monsoon season produced moderate increases in discharge (from 1 to 5 mm day−1
), mitigating stream temperature increases associated with solar radiation. Catchment hydrologic response to rain events can play an important role in controlling stream thermal response to forest management practices.
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