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Spatial and temporal variation in the trends of hydrological response of forested watersheds in Thailand

Techamahasaranont J., Shrestha S., Babel M.S., Shrestha R.P., Jourdain D.. 2017. Environmental Earth Sciences, 76 (12) : 18 p..

Thailand has undergone significant forest cover changes in recent decades, and this is likely to have altered the hydrological functioning of many watersheds; however, such potential impacts are not fully understood. To contribute towards a better understanding of the potential hydrological impacts of forest cover changes, this study examines the temporal trends of several hydrological indices in eight watersheds of Thailand over the period from 1982 to 2013. A number of hydrological indices (runoff coefficient, baseflow index, flow duration indices, streamflow elasticity, dryness index) were analysed using a combined Thiel¿Sen/Mann¿Kendall trend-testing approach, to assess the magnitude and significance of patterns in the observed data. These trend tests indicated that the change in the hydrological response of watersheds varied with the change in structure and composition of forest species. A significant increase in runoff (viz. average flow) was observed in those watersheds covered with natural forests, whereas a significant reduction in runoff (viz. baseflow and low runoff) was observed in those watersheds where the land cover was changed to Para rubber plantations and reforested areas. It is also noteworthy that the watersheds covered by natural forest showed more streamflow elasticity than plantations or reforested areas. These results highlight the importance of considering both forest types/dynamics and watershed characteristics when assessing hydrological impacts. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : impact sur l'environnement; ruissellement; débit; sécheresse; reconstitution forestière; hévéa; couvert forestier; couverture végétale; hydrologie; composition botanique; bassin versant; forêt; thaïlande

Thématique : Ressources en eau et leur gestion; Production forestière; Écologie végétale

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