Water resource management in Japan: Forest management or dam reservoirs?

Hikaru Komatsu, Tomonori Kume, Kyoichi Otsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers and journalists in Japan recently proposed forest management as an alternative to dam reservoir development for water resource management. To examine the validity of the proposal, we compared the potential low-flow increase due to forest clearcutting with the increase due to dam reservoir development. Here, we focused on forest clearcutting as an end member among various types of forest management. We first analyzed runoff data for five catchments and found a positive correlation between annual precipitation and the low-flow increase due to deforestation. We then examined the increase in low-flow rates due to dam reservoir development (dQd) using inflow and outflow data for 45 dam reservoirs across Japan. Using the relationship between annual precipitation and the low-flow increase due to deforestation, we estimated the potential increase in the low-flow rate for each dam reservoir watershed if forests in the watershed were clearcut (dQf). Only 6 of the 45 samples satisfied dQf > dQd, indicating that the potential increase in the low-flow rate due to forest clearcutting was less than the increase due to dam reservoir development in most cases. Twenty-five of the 45 samples satisfied dQf < 0.2 dQd, indicating the potential increase in the low-flow rate due to forest clearcutting was less than 20% of the increase due to dam reservoir development in more than half the cases. Therefore, forest management is far less effective for water resource management than dam reservoir development is in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-823
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume91
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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