Long-Term Forest Hydrologic Monitoring in Coastal Carolinas
Long-term hydrologic data are essential for understanding the hydrologic processes, as base line data for assessment of impacts and conservation of regional ecosystems, and for developing and testing eco-hydrological models. This study presents 6-year (1996-2001) of rainfall, water table and outflow data from a USDA Forest Service coastal experimental watershed on a natural pine-hardwood forest in South Carolina (SC) and a small, 29-yr old intensively managed, drained pine forest owned by Weyerhaeuser Company in coastal North Carolina (NC). Results from this study showed a wide variation in annual outflows a affected by water table position, which is dependent upon both rainfall and evapotranspiration (ET). Although average annual rainfall was lower, the undrained watershed in SC had much shallower water table depths with higher frequent outflows compared to the drained NC watershed. The study emphasized the need for long-term rainfall and ET data and soil water properties in comparative assessments of the hydrology of poorly drained coastal watersheds.