Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Hurricane impacts on a pair of coastal forested watersheds: implications of selective hurricane damage to forest structure and streamflow dynamicsAuthor(s): A.D. Jayakaran; T.M. Williams; H. Ssegane; D.M. Amatya; B. Song; C.C. Trettin
Source: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
View PDF (2.56 MB)
DescriptionHurricanes are infrequent but influential disruptors of ecosystem processes in the southeastern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Every southeastern forested wetland has the potential to be struck by a tropical cyclone. We examined the impact of Hurricane Hugo on two paired coastal South Carolina watersheds in terms of streamflow and vegetation dynamics, both before and after the hurricane's passage in 1989. The study objectives were to quantify the magnitude and timing of changes including a reversal in relative streamflow difference between two paired watersheds, and to examine the selective impacts of a hurricane on the vegetative composition of the forest. We related these impacts to their potential contribution to change watershed hydrology through altered evapotranspiration processes. Using over 30 years of monthly rainfall and streamflow data we showed that there was a significant transformation in the hydrologic character of the two watersheds – a transformation that occurred soon after the hurricane's passage. We linked the change in the rainfall–runoff relationship to a catastrophic change in forest vegetation due to selective hurricane damage. While both watersheds were located in the path of the hurricane, extant forest structure varied between the two watersheds as a function of experimental forest management techniques on the treatment watershed. We showed that the primary damage was to older pines, and to some extent larger hardwood trees. We believe that lowered vegetative water use impacted both watersheds with increased outflows on both watersheds due to loss of trees following hurricane impact. However, one watershed was able to recover to pre hurricane levels of evapotranspiration at a quicker rate due to the greater abundance of pine seedlings and saplings in that watershed.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationJayakaran, A.D.; Williams, T.M.; Ssegane, H.; Amatya, D.M.; Song, B.; Trettin, C.C. 2014. Hurricane impacts on a pair of coastal forested watersheds: implications of selective hurricane damage to forest structure and streamflow dynamics. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 18: 1151-1164. Doi: 10.5194/hess-18-1151-2014.
- Testing resiliency of hydrologic dynamics of a paired forested watershed after a hurricane in Atlantic coastal plain using long-term data
- Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Water Resources in the Southeast USA
- A comparative analysis of hydrologic responses of tropical deciduous and temperate deciduous watershed ecosystems to climatic change
XML: View XML