New data for water losses from mature Sitka spruce plantations in temperate upland catchments

Katherine V. Heal, R. T. Stidson, C. A. Dickey, J. N. Cape, Mathew R. Heal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Accurate estimates of water losses from mature Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) plantations in the UK uplands are required to assess the sustainability of water supply in the event of land-use change. Many investigations have demonstrated that afforestation increases water losses from temperate upland catchments, to up to 40% of annual site rainfall. In a 0.86 km2 upland water supply catchment in southwest Scotland, interception loss in a Sitka spruce-dominated 37-year old plantation, was 52% of annual precipitation (2912 mm), considerably higher than reported in previous studies of similar catchments. From direct measurements of rainfall, cloudwater, discharge and soil evaporation, the catchment water balance was 96–117% complete, within the limits of measurement error. The most probable explanation for the higher forest interception loss reported here is the inclusion of cloudwater measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-493
Number of pages17
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • catchment water balance
  • cloudwater
  • conifer forest
  • evapotranspiration
  • interception
  • stemflow
  • throughfall
  • UK
  • upland catchment
  • water loss


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