Hydrology of Patch Cuts in Lodgepole Pine

by James R. Meiman, Prof. of Earth Resources; Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colo.,
Thomas L. Dietrich, Hydro.; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Springs, Md.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 1, Pg. 41-52

Document Type: Journal Paper


Paired plot studies of soil water and snow water equivalents were conducted from 1968-1973 in the lodgepole pine type on the eastern slope of the Colorado Front Range at an elevation of 9,000 ft (2,700 m). Small patch cuts ranging in size from 0.29 acre (1,200 m²) to 0.61 acre (2,500 m²) were cut in the fall of 1971. Based on analysis of precut and post-cut relationships to the paired control plots, the average increase in water potentially available for streamflow from the cut areas was 4.6 in. (117mm). Changes in distribution of snow on a relatively small part of the cut areas accounted for 21% of the increase. There were no significant changes in potential water yields from the adjacent uncut forest. Although the results are site-specific and for only the first full hydrologic year after treatment, there does appear to be a very high potential for water yield increase by small patch cuts from sites similar to those studied.

Subject Headings: Water treatment | Hydrology | Soil water | Snow | Water yield | Slopes | Streamflow | Forests | Colorado | United States

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