Influence of forest roads standards and networks on water yield as predicted by the distributed hydrology-soil-vegetation modelThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Throughout the country, foresters are continually looking at the effects of logging and forest roads on stream discharge and overall stream health. In the Pacific Northwest, a distributed hydrology-soil-vegetation model (DHSVM) has been used to predict the effects of logging on peak discharge in mountainous regions. DHSVM uses elevation, meteorological, vegetation, and soil data to model the hydrology of the catchment explicitly on a grid cell by grid cell scale. The model is unique in its ability to consider the impacts of road networks on catchment hydrology due to the addition of a road and channel network algorithm. This is of critical importance because it has long been recognized that forest roads can have very large impacts on water yields and water quality. The primary objectives of this study are to determine whether or not DHSVM can be applied to the gentler slopes of the Appalachian Mountains and, if so, determine which types of roads and road networks have the smallest effect on stream discharge. Calibration of the model will be done using historical data collected from the Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research Station in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Forest road parameters that will be considered in this study include road density and road standards. This type of information will be useful to watershed managers and watershed planners for minimizing the impacts of forest roads.