The Missing Component in Forest Hydrology Models
Bacchus, Sydney T.
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"FLATWOODS", a forest hydrology model recently developed for predicting hydrologic impacts of different forest management practices in the southern Coastal Plain (SCP), provides advantages over alternative models. However, the "FLATWOODS" model was developed and tested using slash pine plantations, and differences in interception/ throughfall and evapotranspiration for natural flatwoods stands vs. pine plantations are not addressed by the model. More significantly, "FLATWOODS" does not account for the influence of anthropogenic alterations of hydrology due to municipal groundwater withdrawals in the vicinity of the site where the model was developed. Hydrologic perturbations are evident in many of the depressional, pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) wetlands on the site, which exhibit signs of subsidence and premature decline typically associated with regional groundwater withdrawals in similar areas of the SCP. Increased transmissivity of the karst aquifer reported at the nearby municipal wellfield since pumping was initiated is evidence of the dynamic nature of karst aquifers subjected to groundwater mining. This provides additional support that the hydrology at the site where the model was developed may have been altered significantly by groundwater mining prior to data collection for development of the "FLATWOODS" model. These factors limit the predictive ability of the "FLATWOODS" model for natural pine flatwoods stands, and for pine plantation stands where groundwater mining does not occur. However, an opportunity exists to evaluate some aspects of the influence that groundwater mining has on this site by incorporating additional data and refining the model.