REFORESTATION WITH CONIFERS - ITS EFFECT ON STREAMFLOW IN CENTRAL NEW YORK1

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  • 1

    Publication authorized by the Director, U.S. Geological Survey.

ABSTRACT

During the early 1930's, more than 340,000 acres of abandoned farmland in New York State were purchased by the State Conservation Department for the planting, growing, and harvesting of trees. Since then, this land has developed from a heavy cover of weeds and brush into dense coniferous woodlands with trees averaging well over 30 feet high.

Hydrologic data have been collected since 1932 in Central New York to determine the effect of the reforestation on streamflow. Data are available for three small partly reforested areas and for one non-reforested control area.

Intensive statistical analyses of the data from the four study areas were made in 1958. It was determined at that time that significant reductions in total runoff had occurred which were attributed to increases in interception and transpiration. Reductions in peak discharges during the dormant season also were indicated which were attributed to increased interception and sublimation of snowfall, and gradual desynchronization of snowmelt runoff from the wooded and open areas of partly reforested watersheds.

Updating of the studies relating to peak discharges was completed in 1967 and indicated that no further changes in relative peaks had taken place since 1958. From this it is concluded that the influence exerted by the forest had become maximum by 1958 and has remained stable since then.

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