Long-Term Monitoring and Research in Forest Hydrology: Towards Integrated Watershed Management

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 March 2022) | Viewed by 30772

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Guest Editor
Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Interests: forest hydrology; water balance; evapotranspiration; rainfall interception; surface runoff; integrated land and water management; flood disaster; water resources; payment of environmental services
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest hydrology, as a discipline, was designed to address the fundamental questions regarding the impacts of deforestation on flood and drought. Recently, forest hydrology has become a primary discipline in biophysical sciences to clarify how forests and water interact with each other. Despite the remarkable and detailed progress of research into forest hydrology, the original questions have not yet been fully answered. Additionally, the knowledge gained through this research has not yet been integrated into forest and water management in the real world. Recently, payment for environmental services (PES) schemes was made available as a new tool for forest and water management, but most of these schemes fail to consider the recent advances in forest hydrology.

The influence of global warming continues to grow, and extreme weather events are increasing in frequency, posing threats to people and property. To sustain and manage forests and water resources and avoid and mitigate disasters, it is an important and urgent challenge to understand long-term hydrological changes in forests and to provide robust scientific knowledge on the response of forest and water resources to those changes. Such detection of environmental changes and ecosystem responses requires baseline datasets based on long-term hydrological observations of forests. In recent years, the number of long-term forest hydrology observation sites has increased.

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather both recent scientific research of forest hydrology based on long-term data and integrated watershed management based on current research in forest hydrology. All types of manuscripts (original research, reviews, etc.) are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Koichiro Kuraji
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • forest hydrology
  • water balance
  • evapotranspiration
  • rainfall interception
  • surface runoff
  • integrated land and water management
  • flood disaster
  • water resources
  • payment of environmental services

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 181 KiB  
Editorial
Long-Term Monitoring and Research in Forest Hydrology: Towards Integrated Watershed Management
by Koichiro Kuraji
Water 2022, 14(16), 2556; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14162556 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1578
Abstract
Forest hydrology, as a discipline, was designed to address fundamental questions regarding the impact of deforestation on floods and droughts [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

12 pages, 3309 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Changes in Relationship between Water Level and Precipitation in Lake Yamanaka
by Koichiro Kuraji and Haruo Saito
Water 2022, 14(14), 2232; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14142232 - 15 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2448
Abstract
Lake water levels fluctuate due to both natural and anthropogenic influences. Climate change can alter precipitation, driving fluctuations in lake water levels. Extreme fluctuations can cause flooding, water shortages, and changes in lake water quality and ecosystems, as well as affecting fisheries and [...] Read more.
Lake water levels fluctuate due to both natural and anthropogenic influences. Climate change can alter precipitation, driving fluctuations in lake water levels. Extreme fluctuations can cause flooding, water shortages, and changes in lake water quality and ecosystems, as well as affecting fisheries and tourism. Despite the need to predict future water-level rises, especially in the context of climate change, long-term hydrological studies are scarce. Here, we analyzed 93 years of data from 1928 to 2020 to identify changes in the relationship between water level and precipitation in Lake Yamanaka, Japan. We found that the six-day maximum rise in water level for the same six-day maximum precipitation was significantly greater in the later period than in the earlier period; the difference increased with increasing precipitation. Particularly large increases in precipitation were sometimes caused by a single event or by multiple events occurring in succession. Full article
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15 pages, 4536 KiB  
Article
Impact of Forest Conversion to Agriculture on Hydrologic Regime in the Large Basin in Vietnam
by Nguyen Cung Que Truong, Dao Nguyen Khoi, Hong Quan Nguyen and Akihiko Kondoh
Water 2022, 14(6), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14060854 - 9 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2981
Abstract
Deforestation due to agricultural land expansion occurred greatly during 1994 to 2005 with a high proportion of forests being converted into agriculture in the upstream Dong Nai river basin in Vietnam. Most of these conversions included expansions of coffee plantations in Dak Lak [...] Read more.
Deforestation due to agricultural land expansion occurred greatly during 1994 to 2005 with a high proportion of forests being converted into agriculture in the upstream Dong Nai river basin in Vietnam. Most of these conversions included expansions of coffee plantations in Dak Lak and Lam Dong provinces, which are in the world’s Robusta coffee production area. The aim of this study is to quantify the impact on the water cycle due to the conversion of forest to coffee plantations in a tropical humid climate region by the application of a hydrological model: soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). The model was calibrated with climate data from 1980–1994, validated with climate data from 1995–2010, and verified with statistical indicators such as Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), percent bias (PBIAS), and ratio of the root mean square error (RSR). The simulations indicated that forest conversions into agriculture (expansion of coffee plantations) had significantly increased surface runoff (SUR) while actual evapotranspiration (ET), soil water content (SW), and groundwater discharge (GW) decreased. These changes are mainly related to the decrease in infiltration and leaf area index (LAI) post land cover changes. However, the soil was not thoroughly destroyed after deforestation due to the replacement of the lost forest with crops and vegetation. Therefore, changes in infiltration were marginal and not sufficient to bring large changes in the annual flow. Higher reductions in ET and SW were proposed, resulting in reduced streamflow in the dry season at the basin where the proportion of agricultural land was higher than the forest cover. Besides the plantation expansion, which resulted in streamflow reductions in the dry season, an existing problem was over-irrigation of coffee plantations that could likely deplete groundwater resources. Hence, balancing economic benefits by coffee production and mitigating groundwater depletion issues should be prioritized for land use management in the study area. Full article
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21 pages, 3473 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Paired Watershed Runoff Relationships since Recovery from a Major Hurricane on a Coastal Forest—A Basis for Examining Effects of Pinus palustris Restoration on Water Yield
by Devendra M. Amatya, Ssegane Herbert, Carl C. Trettin and Mohammad Daud Hamidi
Water 2021, 13(21), 3121; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213121 - 5 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2818
Abstract
The objective of this study was to test pre-treatment hydrologic calibration relationships between paired headwater watersheds (WS77 (treatment) and WS80 (control)) and explain the difference in flow, compared to earlier published data, using daily rainfall, runoff, and a water table measured during 2011–2019 [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to test pre-treatment hydrologic calibration relationships between paired headwater watersheds (WS77 (treatment) and WS80 (control)) and explain the difference in flow, compared to earlier published data, using daily rainfall, runoff, and a water table measured during 2011–2019 in the Santee Experimental Forest in coastal South Carolina, USA. Mean monthly runoff difference between WS80 and WS77 of −6.80 mm for 2011–2019, excluding October 2015 with an extreme flow event, did not differ significantly from −8.57 mm (p = 0.27) for the 1969–1978 period or from −3.89 mm for 2004–2011, the post-Hurricane Hugo (1989) recovery period. Both the mean annual runoff coefficient and monthly runoff were non-significantly higher for WS77 than for WS80. The insignificant higher runoff by chance was attributed to WS77’s three times smaller surface storage and higher hypsometrical integral than those of WS80, but not to rainfall. The 2011–2019 geometric mean regression-based monthly runoff calibration relationship, excluding the October 2015 runoff, did not differ from the relationship for the post-Hugo recovery period, indicating complete recovery of the forest stand by 2011. The 2011–2019 pre-treatment regression relationship, which was not affected by periodic prescribed burning on WS77, was significant and predictable, providing a basis for quantifying longleaf pine restoration effects on runoff later in the future. However, the relationship will have to be used cautiously when extrapolating for extremely large flow events that exceed its flow bounds. Full article
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18 pages, 53661 KiB  
Article
River Buffer Effectiveness in Controlling Surface Runoff Based on Saturated Soil Hydraulic Conductivity
by Hatma Suryatmojo and Ken’ichirou Kosugi
Water 2021, 13(17), 2383; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172383 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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17 pages, 9948 KiB  
Article
How Do Ground Litter and Canopy Regulate Surface Runoff?—A Paired-Plot Investigation after 80 Years of Broadleaf Forest Regeneration
by Anand Nainar, Koju Kishimoto, Koichi Takahashi, Mie Gomyo and Koichiro Kuraji
Water 2021, 13(9), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091205 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2546
Abstract
Relatively minimal attention has been given to the hydrology of natural broadleaf forests compared to conifer plantations in Japan. We investigated the impacts of ground litter removal and forest clearing on surface runoff using the paired runoff plot approach. Plot A (7.4 m [...] Read more.
Relatively minimal attention has been given to the hydrology of natural broadleaf forests compared to conifer plantations in Japan. We investigated the impacts of ground litter removal and forest clearing on surface runoff using the paired runoff plot approach. Plot A (7.4 m2) was maintained as a control while plot B (8.1 m2) was manipulated. Surface runoff was measured by a tipping-bucket recorder, and rainfall by a tipping-bucket rain gauge. From May 2016 to July 2019, 20, 54, and 42 runoff events were recorded in the no-treatment (NT), litter removed before clearcutting (LRBC), and after clearcutting (AC) phases, respectively. Surface runoff increased 4× when moving from the NT to LRBC phase, and 4.4× when moving from the LRBC to AC phase. Antecedent precipitation index (API11) had a significant influence on surface runoff in the LRBC phase but not in the NT and AC phases. Surface runoff in the AC phase was high regardless of API11. The rainfall required for initiating surface runoff is 38% and 56% less when moving from the NT to LRBC, and LRBC to AC phases, respectively. Ground litter and canopy function to reduce surface runoff in regenerated broadleaf forests. Full article
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29 pages, 11151 KiB  
Article
To What Extent Can a Sediment Yield Model Be Trusted? A Case Study from the Passaúna Catchment, Brazil
by Klajdi Sotiri, Stephan Hilgert, Matheus Duraes, Robson André Armindo, Nils Wolf, Mauricio Bergamini Scheer, Regina Kishi, Kian Pakzad and Stephan Fuchs
Water 2021, 13(8), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081045 - 10 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2695
Abstract
Soil degradation and reservoir siltation are two of the major actual environmental, scientific, and engineering challenges. With the actual trend of world population increase, further pressure is expected on both water and soil systems around the world. Soil degradation and reservoir siltation are, [...] Read more.
Soil degradation and reservoir siltation are two of the major actual environmental, scientific, and engineering challenges. With the actual trend of world population increase, further pressure is expected on both water and soil systems around the world. Soil degradation and reservoir siltation are, however, strongly interlinked with the erosion processes that take place in the hydrological catchments, as both are consequences of these processes. Due to the spatial scale and duration of erosion events, the installation and operation of monitoring systems are rather cost- and time-consuming. Modeling is a feasible alternative for assessing the soil loss adequately. In this study, the possibility of adopting reservoir sediment stock as a validation measure for a monthly time-step sediment input model was investigated. For the assessment of sediment stock in the reservoir, the commercial free-fall penetrometer GraviProbe (GP) was used, while the calculation of sediment yield was calculated by combining a revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE)-based model with a sediment delivery ratio model based on the connectivity approach. For the RUSLE factors, a combination of remote sensing, literature review, and conventional sampling was used. For calculation of the C Factor, satellite imagery from the Sentinel-2 platform was used. The C Factor was derived from an empirical approach by combining the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), the degree of soil sealing, and land-use/land-cover data. The key research objective of this study was to examine to what extent a reservoir can be used to validate a long-term erosion model, and to find out the limiting factors in this regard. Another focus was to assess the potential improvements in erosion modeling from the use of Sentinel-2 data. The use of such data showed good potential to improve the overall spatial and temporal performance of the model and also dictated further opportunities for using such types of model as reliable decision support systems for sustainable catchment management and reservoir protection measures. Full article
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18 pages, 13426 KiB  
Article
Monetary Valuation of Flood Protection Ecosystem Service Based on Hydrological Modelling and Avoided Damage Costs. An Example from the Čierny Hron River Basin, Slovakia
by Igor Gallay, Branislav Olah, Zuzana Gallayová and Tomáš Lepeška
Water 2021, 13(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020198 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4136
Abstract
Flood protection is considered one of the crucial regulating ecosystem services due to climate change and extreme weather events. As an ecosystem service, it combines the results of hydrological and ecosystem research and their implementation into land management and/or planning processes including several [...] Read more.
Flood protection is considered one of the crucial regulating ecosystem services due to climate change and extreme weather events. As an ecosystem service, it combines the results of hydrological and ecosystem research and their implementation into land management and/or planning processes including several formally separated economic sectors. As managerial and economic interests often diverge, successful decision-making requires a common denominator in form of monetary valuation of competing trade-offs. In this paper, a methodical approach based on the monetary value of the ecosystem service provided by the ecosystem corresponding to its actual share in flood regulating processes and the value of the property protected by this service was developed and demonstrated based on an example of a medium size mountain basin (290 ha). Hydrological modelling methods (SWAT, HEC-RAS) were applied for assessing the extent of floods with different rainfalls and land uses. The rainfall threshold value that would cause flooding with the current land use but that would be safely drained if the basin was covered completely by forest was estimated. The cost of the flood protection ecosystem service was assessed by the method of non-market monetary value for estimating avoided damage costs of endangered infrastructure and calculated both for the current and hypothetical land use. The results identify areas that are crucial for water retention and that deserve greater attention in management. In addition, the monetary valuation of flood protection provided by the current but also by hypothetical land uses enables competent and well-formulated decision-making processes. Full article
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14 pages, 2969 KiB  
Article
Trend and Variance of Continental Fresh Water Discharge over the Last Six Decades
by Chen Wang and Hui Zhang
Water 2020, 12(12), 3556; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123556 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
Trend estimation of river discharge is an important but difficult task because discharge time series are nonlinear and nonstationary. Previous studies estimated the trend of discharge using a linear method, which is not applicable to nonstationary time series with a nonlinear trend. To [...] Read more.
Trend estimation of river discharge is an important but difficult task because discharge time series are nonlinear and nonstationary. Previous studies estimated the trend of discharge using a linear method, which is not applicable to nonstationary time series with a nonlinear trend. To overcome this problem, we used a recently developed wavelet-based method, ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD), which can separate nonstationary variations from the long-term nonlinear trend. Applying EEMD to annual discharge data of the 925 world’s largest rivers from 1948–2004, we found that the global discharge decreased before 1978 and increased after 1978, which contrasts the nonsignificant trend as estimated by the linear method over the same period. Further analyses show that precipitation had a consistent and dominant influence on the interannual variation of discharge of all six continents and globally, but the influences of precipitation and surface air temperature on the trend of discharge varied regionally. We also found that the estimated trend using EEMD was very sensitive to the discharge data length. Our results demonstrated some useful applications of the EEMD method in studying regional or global discharge, and it should be adopted for studying all nonstationary hydrological time series. Full article
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16 pages, 1532 KiB  
Article
Characterizing the Interception Capacity of Floor Litter with Rainfall Simulation Experiments
by Qiwen Li, Ye Eun Lee and Sangjun Im
Water 2020, 12(11), 3145; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113145 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2628
Abstract
Floor litter can reduce the amount of water reaching the soil layer through rainfall interception. The rainfall interception capacity of floor litter varies with the physical features of the litter and rainfall characteristics. This study aimed to define the maximum and minimum interception [...] Read more.
Floor litter can reduce the amount of water reaching the soil layer through rainfall interception. The rainfall interception capacity of floor litter varies with the physical features of the litter and rainfall characteristics. This study aimed to define the maximum and minimum interception storages (Cmx, Cmn) of litter layers using rainfall simulation experiments, and examine the effects of litter type and rainfall characteristics on rainfall retention and drainage processes that occur in the litter layer. Different types of needle-leaf and broadleaf litters were used: Abies holophylla, Pinus strobus, Pinus rigida, Quercus acutissima, Quercus variabilis, and Sorbus alnifolia. Our results indicate a wide variation in interception storage values of needle leaf litter, regardless of the rainfall intensity and duration. The A. holophylla needle-leaf litter showed the highest Cmx and Cmn values owing to its short length and low porosity. Conversely, the lowest interception storage values were determined for the P. strobus needle leaf litter. No significant differences in interception storage were established for the broadleaf litter. Moreover, except for A. holophylla litter, the broadleaf litter retained more water than the needle leaf litter. An increase in the intensity or duration of rainfall events leads to an increase in the water retention storage of litter. However, these factors do not influence the litter’s drainage capacity, which depends primarily on the force of gravity. Full article
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11 pages, 5137 KiB  
Article
Reforestation Based on Mono-Plantation of Fast-Growing Tree Species Make It Difficult to Maintain (High) Soil Water Content in Tropics, a Case Study in Hainan Island, China
by Wenjun Hong, Jindian Yang, Jinhuan Luo, Kai Jiang, Junze Xu and Hui Zhang
Water 2020, 12(11), 3077; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113077 - 3 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3044
Abstract
Reforestation has been assumed as a natural solution to recover soil water content, thereby increasing freshwater supply. Mono-plantation of fast-growing species is the first step for performing reforestation to prevent frequent and heavy rain-induced landslide in tropics. However, fast-growing species may have negative [...] Read more.
Reforestation has been assumed as a natural solution to recover soil water content, thereby increasing freshwater supply. Mono-plantation of fast-growing species is the first step for performing reforestation to prevent frequent and heavy rain-induced landslide in tropics. However, fast-growing species may have negative hydraulic response to seasonal drought to maintain high growth rate and, thus, may make it difficult for reforestation in tropics to recover soil water content. We tested this hypothesis in a setting involving (a) a reforestation project, which mono-planted eight fast-growing tree species to successfully restore a 0.2-km2 extremely degraded tropical rainforest, and (b) its adjacent undisturbed tropical rainforest in Sanya City, Hainan, China. We found that, for maintaining invariably high growth rates across wet to dry seasons, the eight mono-planted fast-growing tree species had comparable transpiration rates and very high soil water uptake, which in turn led to a large (3 times) reduction in soil water content from the wet to dry seasons in this reforested area. Moreover, soil water content for the adjacent undisturbed tropical rainforest was much higher (1.5 to 5 times) than that for the reforested area in both wet and dry seasons. Thus, the invariably very high water demand from the wet to dry seasons for the mono-planted fast-growing species possesses difficulty in the recovery of soil water content. We suggest, in the next step, to mix many native-species along with the currently planted fast-growing nonnative species in this reforestation project to recover soil water content. Full article
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