Assesing Ecohydrological Impacts of Forest Disturbance using Open Source Software

Monday, 15 December 2014
John Phillips Lovette1, Tony Chang2, Mike Treglia3, Tian Gan4 and Jonathan Duncan1, (1)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States, (2)Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, United States, (3)Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, United States, (4)Utah State University, Logan, UT, United States
In the past 30 years, land management protocols, climate change, and land use have radically changed the frequency and magnitudes of disturbance regimes. Landscape scale disturbances can change a forest structure, resulting in impacts on adjacent watersheds that may affect water amount/quality for human and natural resource use. Our project quantifies hydrologic changes from of a suite of disturbance events resulting in vegetation cover shifts at watersheds across the continental United States. These disturbance events include: wildfire, insect/disease, deforestation(logging), hurricanes, ice storms, and human land use. Our major question is: Can the effects of disturbance on ecohydrology be generalized across regions, time scales, and spatial scales? Using a workflow of open source tools, and utilizing publicly available data, this work could be extended and leveraged by other researchers. Spatial data on disturbance include the MODIS Global Disturbance Index (NTSG), Landsat 7 Global Forest Change (Hansen dataset), and the Degree of Human Modification (Theobald dataset). Ecohydrologic response data includes USGS NWIS, USFS-LTER climDB/hydroDB, and the CUAHSI HIS.