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Analyzing the effects of land cover change on the water balance for case study watersheds in different forested ecosystems in the USA

February 21, 2022

We analyzed impacts of interannual disturbance on the water balance of watersheds in different forested ecosystem case studies across the United States from 1985 to 2016 using a remotely sensed long-term land cover monitoring record (U.S. Geological Survey Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) Collection 1.0 Science products), gridded precipitation and evaporation data, and streamgaging data using paired watersheds (high and low disturbance). LCMAP products were used to quantify the timing and degree of interannual disturbance and to gain a better understanding of how land cover change affects the water balance of disturbed watersheds. In this paper, we present how LCMAP science products can be used to improve knowledge for hydrologic modeling, climate research, and forest management. Anthropogenic influences (e.g., dams and irrigation diversions) often minimize the impacts of land cover change on water balance dynamics when compared to interannual fluctuations of hydroclimatic events (e.g., drought and flooding). Our findings show that each watershed exhibits a complex suite of influences involving climate variables and other factors that affect each of their water balances differently when land cover change occurs. In this study, forests within arid to semi-arid climates experience greater water balance effects from land cover change than watersheds where water is less limited. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Analyzing the effects of land cover change on the water balance for case study watersheds in different forested ecosystems in the USA
DOI 10.3390/land11020316
Authors Nathan C. Healey, Jennifer Rover
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Land
Series Number
Index ID 70228918
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center