Zonal aspects of the influence of forest cover change on runoff in northern river basins of Central Siberia

Onuchin, A., Burenina, Т., Shvidenko, A., Prysov, D., & Musokhranova, A. (2021). Zonal aspects of the influence of forest cover change on runoff in northern river basins of Central Siberia. Forest Ecosystems 8 (1) e45. 10.1186/s40663-021-00316-w.

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Abstract

Background
Assessment of the reasons for the ambiguous influence of forests on the structure of the water balance is the subject of heated debate among forest hydrologists. Influencing the components of total evaporation, forest vegetation makes a significant contribution to the process of runoff formation, but this process has specific features in different geographical zones. The issues of the influence of forest vegetation on river runoff in the zonal aspect have not been sufficiently studied.

Results
Based on the analysis of the dependence of river runoff on forest cover, using the example of nine catchments located in the forest-tundra, northern and middle taiga of Northern Eurasia, it is shown that the share of forest cover in the total catchment area (percentage of forest cover, FCP) has different effects on runoff formation. Numerical experiments with the developed empirical models have shown that an increase in forest cover in the catchment area in northern latitudes contributes to an increase in runoff, while in the southern direction (in the middle taiga) extensive woody cover of catchments “works” to reduce runoff. The effectiveness of geographical zonality in regards to the influence of forests on runoff is more pronounced in the forest-tundra zone than in the zones of northern and middle taiga.

Conclusion
The study of this problem allowed us to analyze various aspects of the hydrological role of forests, and to show that forest ecosystems, depending on environmental conditions and the spatial distribution of forest cover, can transform water regimes in different ways. Despite the fact that the process of river runoff formation is controlled by many factors, such as temperature conditions, precipitation regime, geomorphology and the presence of permafrost, the models obtained allow us to reveal general trends in the dependence of the annual river runoff on the percentage of forest cover, at the level of catchments. The results obtained are consistent with the concept of geographic determinism, which explains the contradictions that exist in assessing the hydrological role of forests in various geographical and climatic conditions. The results of the study may serve as the basis for regulation of the forest cover of northern Eurasian river basins in order to obtain the desired hydrological effect depending on environmental and economic conditions.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 08:15
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 08:15
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/17333

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