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Double funnelling in a mature coastal British Columbia forest: spatial patterns of stemflow after infiltration


Spencer, Sheena A; van Meerveld, H J (2016). Double funnelling in a mature coastal British Columbia forest: spatial patterns of stemflow after infiltration. Hydrological Processes, 30(22):4185-4201.

Abstract

Many studies have focused on the amount of stemflow in different forests and for different rainfall events, but few studies have focused on how stemflow intensity varies during events or the infiltration of stemflow into the soil. Stemflow may lead to higher water delivery rates at the base of the tree compared with throughfall over the same area and fast and deeper infiltration of this water along roots and other preferential flow pathways. In this study, stemflow amounts and intensities were measured and blue dye experiments were conducted in a mature coniferous forest in coastal British Columbia to examine double funneling of stemflow. Stemflow accounted for only 1% of precipitation and increased linearly with event total precipitation. Funneling ratios ranged from less than 1 to almost 20; smaller trees had larger funnelling ratios. Stemflow intensity generally was highest for periods with high-intensity rainfall later in the event. The maximum stemflow intensities were higher than the maximum precipitation intensities. Dye tracer experiments showed that stemflow infiltrated primarily along roots and was found more frequently at depth than near the soil surface. Lateral flow of stemflow was observed above a dense clay layer for both the throughfall and stemflow experiments. Stemflow appeared to infiltrate deeper (122 cm) than throughfall (85 cm), but this difference was in part a result of site-specific differences in maximum soil depth. However, the observed high stem flow intensities combined with preferential flow of stemflow may lead to enhanced subsurface stormflow. This suggests that even though stemflow is only a very minor component of the water balance, it may still significantly affect soil moisture, recharge, and runoff generation.

Abstract

Many studies have focused on the amount of stemflow in different forests and for different rainfall events, but few studies have focused on how stemflow intensity varies during events or the infiltration of stemflow into the soil. Stemflow may lead to higher water delivery rates at the base of the tree compared with throughfall over the same area and fast and deeper infiltration of this water along roots and other preferential flow pathways. In this study, stemflow amounts and intensities were measured and blue dye experiments were conducted in a mature coniferous forest in coastal British Columbia to examine double funneling of stemflow. Stemflow accounted for only 1% of precipitation and increased linearly with event total precipitation. Funneling ratios ranged from less than 1 to almost 20; smaller trees had larger funnelling ratios. Stemflow intensity generally was highest for periods with high-intensity rainfall later in the event. The maximum stemflow intensities were higher than the maximum precipitation intensities. Dye tracer experiments showed that stemflow infiltrated primarily along roots and was found more frequently at depth than near the soil surface. Lateral flow of stemflow was observed above a dense clay layer for both the throughfall and stemflow experiments. Stemflow appeared to infiltrate deeper (122 cm) than throughfall (85 cm), but this difference was in part a result of site-specific differences in maximum soil depth. However, the observed high stem flow intensities combined with preferential flow of stemflow may lead to enhanced subsurface stormflow. This suggests that even though stemflow is only a very minor component of the water balance, it may still significantly affect soil moisture, recharge, and runoff generation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:11 Nov 2016 13:01
Last Modified:11 Nov 2016 13:02
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0885-6087
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.10936

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