Early successional forest habitats and water resources
Tree harvests that create early successional habitats have direct and indirect impacts on water resources in forests of the Central Hardwood Region. Streamflow increases substantially immediately after timber harvest, but increases decline as leaf area recovers and biomass aggrades. Post-harvest increases in stormflow of 10–20%, generally do not contribute to downstream flooding. Sediment from roads and skid trails can compromise water quality after cutting. With implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), timber harvests are unlikely to have detrimental impacts on water resources, but forest conversion from hardwood to pines, or poorly designed road networks may have long lasting impacts. Changing climate suggests the need for close monitoring of BMP effectiveness and the development of new BMPs applicable to more extreme climatic conditions.