Potential for Reduced Infiltration and Recharge on a Local Scale Following Cover Type Conversions in the Southeastern Coastal Plain
Bacchus, Sydney T.
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Conversion of mixed hardwoods to stands of pine has been shown to reduce water yield as stream flow in watersheds of Piedmont and mountainous physiographic provinces. Decreases in yield have been attributed to documented increases in interception by pines. Transpiration by pines during periods to dormancy in deciduous hardwoods has been identified as another possible factor in decreased yields. Additional factors that may contribute to cover-related reductions in local water budgets in the Southeastern Coastal Plain (SCP) include low topographic gradients with highly permeable surface horizons, species-specific increases in transpiration rates, and increased stand densities of planted pines. Influences on wetlands in the SCP due to local scale reductions in infiltration and recharge have not been considered during cover-type conversions. Some depressional wetlands in areas converted to planted pines in the SCP have exhibited drainage-related stress responses in the absence of surface drainagage features. Research is needed in the SCP to evaluate the potential impact of local scale reductions in infiltration and recharge on depressional wetland.