Wu W, Hall CAS, Scatena FN. Modelling the impact of recent
land-cover changes on the stream flows in northeastern Puerto
Rico. Hydrol Process 2007; 21: 2944-2956.
We investigated the influence of recent and future land-cover changes on stream flow of a watershed northeastern Puerto Rico
using hydrological modeling and simulation analysis. Monthly and average annual stream flows were compared between an
agricultural period (1973–1980) and an urbanized/reforested period (1988–1995) using the revised Generalized Watershed
Loading Function model. Our validated results show that a smaller proportion of rainfall became stream flows in the
urbanized/forested period compared with the agricultural period, apparently because of reforestation. Sensitivity analysis
of the model showed that evapotranspiration, precipitation, and curve number were the most significant factors influencing
stream flow. Simulations of projected land-cover scenarios indicate that annual stream flows would increase by 9Ð6% in a
total urbanization scenario, decrease by 3Ð6% in a total reforestation scenario, and decrease by 1Ð1% if both reforestation
and urbanization continue at their current rates to 2020. An imposed hurricane event that was similar in scale to the largest
recent event on the three land-cover scenarios would increase the daily stream flow by 62Ð1%, 68Ð4% and 67Ð1% respectively.
Owing to the environmental setting of eastern Puerto Rico, where sea breezes caused by temperature differences between land
surface and the ocean dominate the local climate, we suggest that managing local land-cover changes can have important
consequences for water management. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.