Assesing Ecohydrological Impacts of Forest Disturbance using Open Source Software
Monday, 15 December 2014
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.