Effects of timber management on the hydrology of wetland forests in the Southern United States
The objectives of this paper are to review the hydrologic impacts of various common forest management practices that include harvesting, site preparation, and drainage. Field hydrological data collected during the past 5±10 years from ten forested wetland sites across the southern US are synthesized using various methods including hydrologic simulation models and Geographic Information Systems. Wetland systems evaluated include red river bottoms, black river bottoms, pocosins, wet mineral ¯ats, cypress domes, and pine ¯atwoods. Hydrologic variables used in this assessment include water table level, drainage, and storm ¯ow on different spatial and temporal scales. Wetland ecosystems have higher water storage capacity and higher evapotranspiration than uplands. Hydrologic impacts of forest management are variable, but generally minor, especially when forest best management practices are adopted. A conceptually generalized model is developed to illustrate the relative magnitude of hydrologic effects of forest management on different types of wetlands in the southern US. This model suggests that in addition to soils, wetland types, and management practice options, climate is an important factor in controlling wetland hydrology and the magnitude of disturbance impacts. Bottomland wetlands, partial harvesting, and warm climate usually offer conditions that result in low hydrologic impact. # 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.