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Ľubomír Lichner, Artemi Cerdà, Miroslav Tesař and Kálmán Rajkai

Open access

Simone Di Prima, Vincenzo Bagarello, Rafael Angulo-Jaramillo, Inmaculada Bautista, Artemi Cerdà, Antonio del Campo, María González-Sanchis, Massimo Iovino, Laurent Lassabatere and Federico Maetzke

Abstract

In Mediterranean ecosystems, special attention needs to be paid to forest–water relationships due to water scarcity. In this context, Adaptive Forest Management (AFM) has the objective to establish how forest resources have to be managed with regards to the efficient use of water, which needs maintaining healthy soil properties even after disturbance. The main objective of this investigation was to understand the effect of one of the AFM methods, namely forest thinning, on soil hydraulic properties. At this aim, soil hydraulic characterization was performed on two contiguous Mediterranean oak forest plots, one of them thinned to reduce the forest density from 861 to 414 tree per ha. Three years after the intervention, thinning had not affected soil water permeability of the studied plots. Both ponding and tension infiltration runs yielded not significantly different saturated, Ks, and unsaturated, K −20, hydraulic conductivity values at the thinned and control plots. Therefore, thinning had no an adverse effect on vertical water fluxes at the soil surface. Mean Ks values estimated with the ponded ring infiltrometer were two orders of magnitude higher than K −20 values estimated with the minidisk infiltrometer, revealing probably soil structure with macropores and fractures. The input of hydrophobic organic matter, as a consequence of the addition of plant residues after the thinning treatment, resulted in slight differences in terms of both water drop penetration time, WDPT, and the index of water repellency, R, between thinned and control plots. Soil water repellency only affected unsaturated soil hydraulic conductivity measurements. Moreover, K −20 values showed a negative correlation with both WDPT and R, whereas Ks values did not, revealing that the soil hydrophobic behavior has no impact on saturated hydraulic conductivity.

Open access

Saleh Yousefi, Seyed Hamidreza Sadeghi, Somayeh Mirzaee, Martine van der Ploeg, Saskia Keesstra and Artemi Cerdà

Abstract

Elucidating segregation of precipitation in different components in forest stands is important for proper forest ecosystems management. However, there is a lack of information on important rainfall components viz. throughfall, interception and stemflow in forest watersheds particularly in developing countries. We therefore investigated the spatiotemporal variation of important component of throughfall for a forest stand in a Hyrcanian plain forest in Noor City, northern Iran. The study area contained five species of Quercus castaneifolia, Carpinus betulus, Populus caspica and Parrotia persica. The research was conducted from July 2013 to July 2014 using a systematic sampling method. Ninetysix throughfall collectors were installed in a 3.5 m × 3.5 m grid cells. The canopy covers during the growing/leaf-on (i.e., from May to November) and non-growing/leaf-off (i.e., from December to March) seasons were approximately 41% and 81%, respectively. The mean cumulative throughfall during the study period was 623±31 mm. The average throughfall (TF) as % of rainfall (TFPR) during leaf-on and leaf-off periods were calculated 56±14% and 77±10%, respectively. TF was significantly (R2 = 0.97, p = 0.00006) correlated with gross precipitation. Percent of canopy cover was not correlated with TF except when gross precipitation was <30 mm. A comparison between leaf-off and leaf-on conditions indicated a significantly higher TFPR and corresponding hotspots during leaf-on period. TFPR also differed between seasons with a maximum amount in winter (82%). The results of the study can be effectively used by forest watershed managers for better perception of hydrological behavior of the Hyrcanian forest in the north of Iran under different silvicultural circumstances leading to getting better ecosystem services.