Hydrological Processes in a humid Tropical Rain Forest: A Combined Experimental and Modelling Approach

Schellekens, J. 2000. Hydrological processes in a humid tropical rain
forest: a combined experimental and modeling approach. Ph.D.
Thesis, Free University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University
Press, 158 p.

With populations growing explosively in the tropical parts of the world, and the per capita water demands increasing where living standards improve, optimisation of water resources is becoming increasingly important [Bonell et al., 1993]. Similarly, the strong demands for industrial wood (pulpwood, saw and veneer logs), fuelwood and charcoal, require the establishment of large areas of fast-growing plantation forests, often on land that is currently not forested [Evans, 1992; Brown et al., 1997]. Coupled with (i) the continued indiscriminate clearing of the world’s tropical forests [Jepma, 1995; Nepstad et al., 1999] which in many areas serve as the traditional supplier of high quality water; (ii) the associated deterioration of soil and water quality due to erosion and pollution [Oldeman, 1994], plus (iii) the possibility of gradually less dependable precipitation inputs and (in certain ‘maritime’ tropical areas away from the equator) an increasing frequency of devastating hurricanes due to ‘global change’ [Wasser and Harger, 1992], a sound understanding of the hydrological functioning of tropical forests is arguably even more important nowadays than ever before [cf. Bruijnzeel, 1990, 2000a]. Bruijnzeel and Abdul Rahim [1992] suggested that in a time of dwindling resources, additional forest hydrological research in the humid tropics could best be carried out at a limited number of carefully selected data-rich key locations that could be loosely joined together in a network that captures the environmental variability encountered in the humid tropics. Furthermore, Bruijnzeel [1993] and Bonell and Balek [1993] considered a catchment-based approach to offer the best framework for such research as this allows for the integration of hydrological, geomorphological, pedological and ecological observations in a spatial context, particularly if supplemented by process studies and physicallybased distributed modelling.

Effects of Hurricane Disturbance on Stream Water Concentrations and Fluxes in Eight Tropical Forest Watersheds of the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico

SCHAEFER, DOUGLAS. A.; McDOWELL, WILLIAM H.; SCATENA, FREDRICK N.; ASBURY,CLYDE E. 2000. Effects of hurricane disturbance on stream water concentrations and fluxes in eight tropical forest watersheds of the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. . Journal of Tropical Ecology 16:189-207

Stream water chemistry responds substantially to watershed disturbances, but hurricane effects have not been extensively investigated in tropical regions. This study presents a long-term (2.5-1 1 y) weekly record of stream water chemistry on eight forested watersheds (catchment basins) in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. This includes a period before and at least 2 y after the disturbance caused by the 1989 Hurricane Hugo. Nitrate, potassium and ammonium concentrations increased after the hurricane and remained elevated for up to 2 y. Sulphate, chloride, sodium, magnesium and calcium showed smaller relative significant changes. Average stream water exports of potassium, nitrate and ammonium increased by 13.1, 3.6 and 0.54 kg ha-' y-' in the first post-hurricane year across all watersheds. These represent increases of 119, 182 and 102% respectively, compared to the other years of record. The increased stream outputs of potassium and nitrogen in the first 2 y post-hurricane are equivalent to 3% (potassium) and 1% (nitrogen) of the hurricanederived plant litter. Effects of hurricanes on tropical stream water potassium and nitrogen can be greater than those caused by canopy gaps or limited forest cutting, but less than those following large-scale deforestation or fire.

Future Trends and Research Needs in Managing Forests and Grasslands as Drinking Water Sources

The management of forest and grassland watersheds for drinking water supplies has been, and will continue to be, a major activity of the Forest Service and other natural resource agencies. However, these watersheds will continue to support other uses, including providing timber products, recreation, mining, fisheries, grazing, and the conservation of biodiversity. In addition, relatively new uses like using forests for carbon and nutrient sequestration (DeLucia and others 1999) or the recycling of wastewater (Cole and others 1986, Sopper and Kardos 1973) will increase. The future is also expected to bring increased competition for existing water resources (Postel 1998) and changes from point source to watershed-based pollution management (U.S. EPA 1997). How these watersheds will be managed in this increasingly competitive, watershed-based, multiuse environment will be affected by site-specific knowledge of environmental change, technological change, and social and administrative considerations.

Culvert flow in small drainages in montane tropical forests: observations from the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico.

Scatena, F. N. 1990. Culvert flow in small drainages in montane tropical forests: observations from the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. . Tropical Hydrology and Caribbean Water Resources. :237-246.

This paper describe the hydraulics of unsubmerged flow for 5 culverts in the Luiquillo Esperimental Forest of Puerto Rico. A General equation based on empirical data is presented to estimate culvert discharge during unsubmerged conditions. Large culverts are needed in humid tropical montane areas than in humid temperatute watersheds and are usually appropriate only for drainage less than 1km2.

Hydrologic regimes of forested, mountainous, headwater basins in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, and Puerto Rico

Post, David A.; Jones, Julia A. 2001. Hydrologic regimes of forested, mountainous, headwater basins in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, and Puerto Rico. Advances in Water Resources, Vol. 24: 1195-1210.

This study characterized the hydrologic regimes at four forested, mountainous long-term ecological research (LTER) sites: H.J. Andrews (Oregon), Coweeta (North Carolina), Hubbard Brook (New Hampshire), and Luquillo (Puerto Rico). Over 600 basinyears of daily streadow records were examined from 18 basins that have not experienced human disturbances since at least the 1930s and in some cases much longer periods. This study used statistical methods to systematically evaluate the relationship between precipitation and streamflow at a range of spatial and temporal scales, and draw inferences from these relationships about the hydrologic behavior of the basins. Basins in this study had fundamentally different abilities to store and release moisture at a range of time and space scales. These different hydrologic regimes are the result of different types of forest canopies, snow, and soils in the study basins. Through their influences on interception and transpiration, forest canopies appear to play a very important role in the hydrologic regimes at Andrews and Luquillo, but at Coweeta and Hubbard Brook, the current deciduous forest plays a more limited although seasonally important role. Because of the timing of melt and its interaction with soils, seasonal snowpacks at Hubbard Brook and Andrews have quite different effects upon streamflow and vegetation water use. A variety of water flowpath types in soil, from macropore flow to long flowpaths in deep soils or fractured bedrock, appear to operate at the four sites. Hydrologic regimes may help predict the temporal scales of biogeochemical cycling and stream ecological processes, as well as the magnitude and timing of hydrologic response to disturbance and climate change in headwater basins.

Control of Nitrogen Export from Watersheds by Headwater Streams

Peterson, B.J. et al. 2001. Control of Nitrogen Export from Watersheds by Headwater Streams.
Science 6 April 2001:
Vol. 292 no. 5514 pp. 86-90
DOI: 10.1126/science.1056874

A comparative 15N-tracer study of nitrogen dynamics in headwater streams from biomes throughout North America demonstrates that streams exert control over nutrient exports to rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The most rapid uptake and transformation of inorganic nitrogen occurred in the smallest streams. Ammonium entering these streams was removed from the water within a few tens to hundreds of meters. Nitrate was also removed from stream water but traveled a distance 5 to 10 times as long, on average, as ammonium. Despite low ammonium concentration in stream water, nitrification rates were high, indicating that small streams are potentially important sources of atmospheric nitrous oxide. During seasons of high biological activity, the reaches of headwater streams typically export downstream less than half of the input of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from their watersheds.

Export of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Major Ions from Three Tropical Montane Watersheds

Export of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Major Ions from Three Tropical Montane Watersheds
William H. McDowell and Clyde E. Asbury
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 1994), pp. 111-125

Annual exports of suspended sediment, dissolved and particulate C and N, dissolved N and P, and major cations and anions were measured in three montane tropical rain forest watersheds in Puerto Rico during 1983-1986. Organic C was primarily exported in the form of DOC, and DOC export (33-94 kg ha-1 yr-1) was similar to values in larger tropical watersheds with similar runoff. Particulate and dissolved organic N accounted for 60-70% of the 4-9 kg ha-1 yr-1 of total N exported. Export of base cations and rates of weathering varied with bedrock geology in the three watersheds. Concentrations of suspended sediment, particulate C and N, and DOC increased as a function of discharge in all three streams. NH4+, NO3-, SO42-, and K+ concentrations showed little or no response to variations in discharge; Na-, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl-, HCO3-, and SiO2 all decreased at high flows. After removing the effects of discharge, residual NO, concentrations in each stream were inversely related to estimated rates of leaf fall. On a watershed basis, export and accumulation of N in biomass were greater than precipitation inputs, suggesting that unmeasured inputs (8-16 kg ha-1 yr-1) were large.

Fine Litterfall and Related Nutrient Inputs Resulting From Hurricane Hugo in Subtropical Wet and Lower Montane Rain Forests of Puerto Rico

Fine Litterfall and Related Nutrient Inputs Resulting From Hurricane Hugo in Subtropical Wet and Lower Montane Rain Forests of Puerto Rico
D. Jean Lodge, F. N. Scatena, C. E. Asbury and M. J. Sanchez
Vol. 23, No. 4, Part A. Special Issue: Ecosystem, Plant, and Animal Responses to Hurricanes in the Caribbean (Dec., 1991), pp. 336-342

On 18 September 1989 Hurricane Hugo defoliated large forested areas of northeastern Puerto Rico. In two severely damaged subtropical wet forest sites, a mean of 1006-1083 g/m$^2$, or 419-451 times the mean daily input of fine litter (leaves, small wood, and miscellaneous debris) was deposited on the forest floor. An additional 928 g/m$^2$ of litter was suspended above the ground. A lower montane rain forest site received 682 times the mean daily fine litterfall. The concentrations of N and P in the hurricane leaf litter ranged from 1.1 to 1.5 and 1.7 to 3.3 times the concentrations of N and P in normal leaffall, respectively. In subtropical wet forest, fine litterfall from the hurricane contained 1.3 and 1.5-2.4 times the mean annual litterfall inputs of N and P, respectively. These sudden high nutrient inputs apparently altered nutrient cycling.

The Use of a Distributed Hydrologic Model to Predict Dynamic Landslide Susceptibility for a Humid Basin in Puerto Rico

This thesis describes the use of a distributed hydrology model in conjunction with a Factor of Safety (FS) algorithm to predict dynamic landslide susceptibility for a humid basin in Puerto Rico. The Mameyes basin, located in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico, was selected for modeling based on the rich ensemble of soil, vegetation, topographical, meteorological and historic landslide data available. The basin was parameterized into the TIN-based Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator (tRIBS) with particular emphasis on vegetation parameters for broadleaf evergreen trees in tropical climates. The basin was forced with precipitation data that included a synthesized rainfall event likely to result in a landslide based on rainfall intensity-duration thresholds. The basin’s response was assessed mainly in terms of soil moisture and values of selected vegetation parameters, which served as the dynamic inputs into the FS algorithm. An off-line FS algorithm was developed and tested using typical values for parameters encountered in the Mameyes basin. Sensitivity analyses indicated that slope angle, soil cohesion and soil moisture were the most sensitive parameters in this FS algorithm. When the tRIBS / FS Algorithm combination was employed over the entire basin, landslides were indicated in 48 out of 13,169 modeled locations. The spatial distribution of landslides compared favorably to a static landslide susceptibility map developed in previous work by Lepore et al. (2008b) while the temporal distribution of landslides was correlated with rainfall events. Landslides were predicted over a range of slope angle values, including on relatively gentle slopes where the modeled soil moisture drove the instability. The results demonstrate that the tRIBS/FS algorithm combination developed in this work is able to capture the key dynamics associated with slope stability, specifically the interactions between the slope angle and the soil moisture state.

Physical Aspects of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico

Scatena, F. N., and Larsen, M. C., 1991, Physical aspects of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico: Biotropica, v. 23, no. 4A, p. 317-323.

On 18 September 1989, the western portion of Hurricane Hugo crossed eastern Puerto Rico and the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF). Storm-facing slopes on the northeastern part of the island that were within 15 km of the eye and received greater than 200 mm of rain were most affected by the storm. In the LEF and nearby area, recurrence intervals associated with Hurricane Hugo were 50 yr for wind velocity, 10 to 31 yr for stream discharge, and 5 yr for rainfall intensity. To compare the magnitudes of the six hurricanes to pass over Puerto Rico since 1899, 3 indices were developed using the standardized values of the product of: the maximum sustained wind speed at San Juan squared and storm duration; the square of the product of the maximum sustained wind velocity at San Juan and the ratio of the distance between the hurricane eye and San Juan to the distance between the eye and percentage of average annual rainfall delivered by the storm. Based on these indices, Hurricane Hugo was of moderate intensity. However, because of the path of Hurricane Hugo, only one of these six storms (the 1932 storm) caused more damage to the LEF than Hurricane Hugo. Hurricanes of Hugo's magnitude are estimated to pass over the LEF once every 50-60 years on average.
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