Effects of Sloped Terrain and Forest Stand Maturity on Evapotranspiration in a Boreal Forested Catchment
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The boreal forests are the predominant landscape of Canada, occupying 49% of its boreal zone or 27% of the country. Despite the tremendous amount of literature on such ecosystems, some gaps persist in our understanding of boreal forest evapotranspiration (ET), given that direct measurements are costly to obtain and therefore scarce in these remote territories. This is especially the case on sloped terrain, since the eddy covariance method is not traditionally used in such situations. These gaps lead to the implementation of the EVAP experimental project, which intends to produce a major leap in our understanding of the water and energy budgets of a sloped boreal forest. Starting in summer 2015, we heavily instrumented a watershed in the Montmorency Forest (47°17’ N; 71°10’ W), Quebec, Canada. Located in the Laurentian Mountains, the forest has a mean elevation of 750 m with peaks at 1000 m. The setup includes a 20-m flux tower with two separate sets of eddy correlation and net radiation measurements facing opposite directions, located over an almost mature boreal forest (logged ~20 years ago, 8-10 m trees). Eddy fluxes are also measured under the canopy with a similar setup, while a sub-watershed is instrumented with a 10-m flux tower using homologous instruments, this time on a much younger forest stand (logged ~10 years ago, 4-5 m trees). Both sites are characterized by a significant slope (~20%), facing northeast for the 20-m tower and west for the 10-m tower. With several other instruments, we are measuring every major components of both water and energy budgets, including the outgoing discharge of the watershed and subwatershed. The different slope orientations and local topography of both sites allow us to quantify the relationships between solar exposition, topographic shading and ET rates; these relationships being transposable to other mountainous forested catchments. We also investigate the presence of slope flows and assess their impact on local ET. Furthermore, this study evaluates ET differences between an actively growing forest and a mature one, providing insights on the effects past disturbances (e.g. fire, insects, logging, etc.) can have on ET rates as the forest grows.