UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Contrasting Differences in Responses of Streamflow Regimes between Reforestation and Fruit Tree Planting in a Subtropical Watershed of China Xu, Zhipeng; Liu, Wenfei; Wei, Xiaohua; Fan, Houbao; Ge, Yizao; Chen, Guanpeng; Xu, Jin

Abstract

Fruit tree planting is a common practice for alleviating poverty and restoring degraded environment in developing countries. Yet, its environmental effects are rarely assessed. The Jiujushui watershed (261.4 km2), located in the subtropical Jiangxi Province of China, was selected to assess responses of several flow regime components on both reforestation and fruit tree planting. Three periods of forest changes, including a reference (1961 to 1985), reforestation (1986 to 2000) and fruit tree planting (2001 to 2016) were identified for assessment. Results suggest that the reforestation significantly decreased the average magnitude of high flow by 8.78%, and shortened high flow duration by 2.2 days compared with the reference. In contrast, fruit tree planting significantly increased the average magnitude of high flow by 27.43%. For low flows, reforestation significantly increased the average magnitude by 46.38%, and shortened low flow duration by 8.8 days, while the fruit tree planting had no significant impact on any flow regime components of low flows. We conclude that reforestation had positive impacts on high and low flows, while to our surprise, fruit tree planting had negative effects on high flows, suggesting that large areas of fruit tree planting may potentially become an important driver for some negative hydrological effects in our study area.

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