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20-Years of hindsight into hydrological dynamics of a mountain forest catchment in the Central Spanish Pyrenees

AuthorsJuez, Carmelo; Peña-Angulo, Dahis; Khorchani, Makki; Regüés-Muñoz, D. ; Nadal-Romero, Estela
KeywordsForest hydrology
Water table
Flood analysis
Mediterranean mountains
Issue Date2-Oct-2020
CitationScience of The Total Environment (2020)
AbstractMediterranean mountain forests play a significant role in hydrological regulation. In this study, hydrological dynamics was examined at different temporal scales in a small mountain forest catchment in the Central Spanish Pyrenees (San Salvador), based on a 20-year dataset (1999–2019). Mean annual runoff coefficient is 0.21, and ranged from 0.02 to 0.58. The catchment has a bi-modal hydrological behavior with two hydrological periods: a dry-period between July and December, and a wet-period between January and June. During the study period, only 108 floods were recorded, suggesting a low responsiveness of the catchment, with a high variable response. Spearman correlation analysis and stepwise multivariate regression suggest that the hydrological response in the San Salvador catchment is mainly depending on water table, with antecedent moisture conditions and rainfall depth as secondary factors. Seasonal differences were also observed: during dry season, the response was mainly related to rainfall depth and rainfall intensity; in contrast in wet season, the response was mainly related to antecedent conditions (previous rainfall and base flow). Thus, the already challenging water resources management in the Mediterranean basin is magnified by the key function of forests as natural modulators of water cycle. Consequently, the study of natural forested catchments is needed and long-datasets have to be analysed to understand the role of natural Mediterranean forest in the hydrological dynamics and its evolution and adaptation in a context of Global Change.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142610
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