Canadian Forest Service Publications

Hydrologic response to and recovery from differing silvicultural systems in a deciduous forest landscape with seasonal snow cover.2018. Buttle, J.M.; Beall, F.D.; Webster, K.L.; Hazlett, P.W.; Creed, I.F.; Semkin, R.G.; Jeffries, D.S. Journal of Hydrology. 557:805-825.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39011

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.01.006

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Plain Language Summary

Hydrological consequences of alternative harvesting strategies in deciduous forest landscapes with seasonal snow cover have received relatively little attention. Most forest harvesting experiments in landscapes with seasonal snow cover have focused on clearcutting in coniferous forests. Few have examined alternative strategies such as selection or shelterwood cutting in deciduous stands whose hydrologic responses to harvesting may differ from those of conifers. This study presents results from a 31-year examination of hydrological response to and recovery from alternative harvesting strategies in a deciduous forest landscape with seasonal snow cover in central Ontario, Canada. A quantitative means of assessing hydrologic recovery to harvesting is also developed. Clearcutting resulted in increased water year (WY) runoff and is accompanied by increased runoff in all seasons, with greatest relative increases in summer. Hydrologic recovery appeared to begin towards the end of the experimental period for several streamflow metrics but was incomplete for all harvesting strategies 15 years after harvesting. Geochemical tracing indicated that harvesting enhanced the relative importance of surface and near-surface water pathways on catchment slopes for all treatments, with the clearcut catchment showing the most pronounced and prolonged response. Such insights into water partitioning between flow pathways may assist assessments of the ecological and biogeochemical consequences of forest disturbance.