Global analysis of streamflow response to forest management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Predicting the responses of streamflow to changes in forest management is fundamental to the sustainable regulation of water resources. However, studies of changes in forest cover have yielded unclear and largely unpredictable results. Here we compile a comprehensive and spatially distributed database of forest-management studies worldwide, to assess the factors that control streamflow response to forest planting and removal. We introduce a vegetation-to-bedrock model that includes seven key landscape factors in order to explain the impacts of forest removal and planting on water yield. We show that the amount of water stored in a landscape is the most important factor in predicting streamflow response to forest removal, whereas the loss of water through evaporation and transpiration is the most important factor in predicting streamflow response to forest planting. Our findings affect model parameterizations in climate change mitigation schemes (involving, for example, afforestation or deforestation) in different geologic and climate regions around the world, and inform practices for the sustainable management of water resources.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume570
Issue number7762
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas