Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is one of the most common plantation species in Japan. In most Japanese cypress plantations, closure of the forest canopy hinders understory growth because of insufficient management practices. Thus leaf litter barely covers the soil surface. Such plantations are vulnerable to surface erosion triggered by rainfalls, and could yield large amounts of suspended sediment (SS). However, few studies have investigated the annual SS yield. This study aimed to develop a modified model of SS yields, and to accurately estimate and characterize the annual SS yield from a Japanese cypress plantation. For this, hydrological surveys were conducted for 5 years, and stream water was sampled weekly as well as sequentially at 15-60 min intervals in each of 14 rain events in a small forested watershed of Japanese cypress. The root mean square error (RMSE) and the annual SS yield estimates were obtained using three different equations: the rating curve derived from instantaneous SS concentration versus stream discharge relationship (SSC - Q equation); the rating curve derived from cumulative SS yield versus cumulative specific discharge relationship (∑SS - ∑Q equation); and the multiple regression of cumulative SS yield expressed as functions of cumulative specific discharge and antecedent rainfalls (∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation). The ∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation is a modified model considering the effects of antecedent rain history on the SS yield. The parameters in each equation were determined by a nonlinear least square method. Of the three equations, the RMSE was the highest using the SSC - Q equation. Although the ∑SS - ∑Q equation and the ∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation gave similar RMSE values, the SS yields extrapolated by the ∑SS - ∑Q equation would be overestimated. Thus, the 5-year average of annual SS yield estimated by the ∑SS - ∑Q equation was three times larger than that estimated by the ∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation. These results indicate that the ∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation more accurately estimates the annual SS yield, compared with the other two equations. The results also suggest that antecedent rain history, as well as stream discharge, should be considered for appropriately estimating the annual SS yield. The annual SS yield estimated by the ∑SS - ∑Q × AR equation was the largest among 25 undisturbed forested watersheds, except for two watersheds dominated by sandstone. Our results suggest that the annual SS yield is greater from a Japanese cypress plantation under current management practices than from other undisturbed forests.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law