Coweeta Water Yield Project

PROJECT TITLE: Interactions between climate and forest management: implications for headwater stream hydrology from the Coweeta paired watershed experiments

SPONSOR: US Forest Service, Southern Research Station

PROJECT DURATION: 1 June 2010 to 31 Oct 2011

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Kevin McGuire

COLLABORATORS: Chelcy Ford Miniat, USFS; Jim Vose, USFS

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE: Charlene Kelly

PROJECT SUMMARY: Concerns over the role forests play in regulating water yield have been a recurring scientific, social, and political theme for many years.  Overall, paired watershed studies suggest that the magnitude of water yield change resulting from forest cover change varies with climate, soil characteristics,and percentage and type of vegetation removal.  While many important lessons have been learned from these paired watershed experiments, new challenges such as the effects of climate change on forests and water warrant re-examination of these long-term records to address how management might mitigate or exacerbate streamflow regimes in forested watersheds.  In this project, a retrospective analysis of 6 paired watershed experiments from Coweeta are used examine changes in flow regimes and their associated interactions with management (e.g., forest harvest or conversion) and climate effects (e.g., wet/dry, cool/warm periods).  The results from this work have implications for whether forest management can be used as a strategy for adapting to climate change in the southeastern US.

PUBLICATIONS:

Kelly, C.N., McGuire, K.J., Miniat, C.F., Vose, J.M. 2016. Forest management changes streamflow response to increasing precipitation extremes, Geophysical Research Letters, 43(8), 3727–3736, doi:10.1002/2016GL068058.LINKS:

Coweeta USFS Website