Modeling long term water yield effects of forest management in a Norway spruce forest

TitleModeling long term water yield effects of forest management in a Norway spruce forest
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsYu X, Lamačová A, Duffy C, Krám P, Hruška J, White T, Bhatt G
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal

Intensive forest management is one of the main land cover changes over the last century in Central Europe, resulting in forest monoculture. These monoculture stands have been proposed to impact hydrological processes, water yield, water quality and ecosystem services. At the Lysina Critical Zone Observatory, a forest catchment in the western Czech Republic, a distributed physics-based hydrologic model, Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model (PIHM), was used to simulate long-term hydrological change under forest management practices, and to evaluate the comparative scenarios of the hydrological consequences for changing land-cover. Stand age-adjusted LAI (leaf area index) curves were generated from an empirical relationship to represent changes in seasonal tree growth. By consideration of age-adjusted LAI, the spatially distributed model was able to successfully simulate the integrated hydrologic response from snow melt, recharge, evapotranspiration, groundwater levels, soil moisture and streamflow, as well as spatial patterns of each state and flux. Simulation scenarios of forest management (historical management, unmanaged, clear cutting to cropland) were compared. One of the critical findings of the study suggests that selective (patch) forest cutting shows a modest increase in runoff (water yield) as compared to the simulated unmanaged (no cutting) scenario over a 29-year period at Lysina suggesting the model is sensitive to selective cutting practices. A simulation scenario of cropland or complete forest cutting leads to extreme increases in annual water yield and peak flow. The model sensitivity to forest management practices examined here suggests the utility of models and scenario development to future management strategies for assessing sustainable water resources and ecosystem services.