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Effect of tree thinning and skidding trails on hydrological connectivity in two Japanese forest catchments

AuthorsLópez-Vicente, Manuel ; Sun, Xinchao; Onda, Yuichi; Kato, Hiroaki; Gomi, Takashi; Hiraoka, Marino
KeywordsHydrological connectivity
Plantation forest
Tree thinning
Skidding trail
Issue DateSep-2017
CitationLópez-Vicente M, SunX, Onda Y, Kato H, Gomi T, Hiraoka M. Effect of tree thinning and skidding trails on hydrological connectivity in two Japanese forest catchments. Geomorphology 292: 104–114 (2017)
AbstractLand use composition and patterns influence the hydrological response in mountainous and forest catchments. In plantation forest, management operations (FMO) modify the spatial and temporal dynamics of overland flow processes. However, we found a gap in the literature focussed on modelling hydrological connectivity (HC) in plantation forest under different FMO. In this study, we simulated HC in two steep paired forest subcatchments (K2 and K3, 33.2 ha), composed of Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa Endl.) and Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) plantations (59% of the total area) against a tree thinning intensity of 50% at different time. Additionally, construction of new skidding trails and vegetation recovery was simulated on five thinning-based scenarios that covered a 40-month test period (July 2010 – October 2013). As a future scenario, six check-dams located in the main streams were proposed to reduce sediment and radionuclide delivery. An updated version of Borselli's index of runoff and sediment connectivity was run, using the D-infinity flow accumulation algorithm and exploiting three 0.5-m resolution digital elevation models. On the basis of the pre-FMO scenario, HC increased at catchment scale owing to tree thinning and the new skidding trails. This change was more noticeable within the area affected by the FMO, where HC increased by 11.4% and 10.5% in the cypress and cedar plantations in K2 respectively and by 8.8% in the cedar plantation in K3. At hillslope plot and stream scales, the evolution in the values of HC was less evident, except the increment (by 5.4%) observed in the streams at K2 after the FMO. Progressive vegetation recovery after the FMO triggered a slight reduction of connectivity in all compartments of both subcatchments. Forest roads and especially skidding trails presented the highest values of HC, appearing as the most efficient features connecting the different vegetation patches with the stream network. The spatial and temporal evolution of HC over the five past scenarios correlated well with the observed changes in runoff yield, as well as with the available values of rainfall interception and throughfall before, during, and after the FMO. The simulation of the proposed scenario recommends the construction of check-dams as effective landscape features to somewhat reduce HC and thus to decrease the sediment and radionuclide delivery rates from the two subcatchments.
Description32 Pags.- 4 Tabls.- 5 Figs. The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0169555X
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.05.006
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
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