Simulating the Hydrological Service of Forest for Sustainable Watershed Management
Forests fulfil a variety of diverse functions that positively influence various aspects of human life and the environment. They provide overall ecosystem health and sustainability, protect water and air quality, support biodiversity and wildlife habitats, supply recreation and aesthetic enjoyment, and so forth. The influence on the hydrological regime is one of the most prominent ecological services delivered by forest ecosystems. Sustainable management of the watersheds is only possible if the hydrological function of forest is quantified and incorporated in the decision-making process. It requires the prediction of the possible changes in the hydrological regime of a given watershed that may occur as a result of a projected anthropogenic activity. Such kind of quantification and prediction can be done using a simulation modelling approach and computer simulation experiments where the real-world environmental objects are not disturbed during the study. The paper presents the simulation model “Forest Hydrology” (SMFH). The model was developed to simulate the processes of forest hydrology in a watershed and their variations under different types of anthropogenic impact. The model produces as outputs the values of the water balance components and provides a quantitative assessment of the hydrological service of forest. It is demonstrated how the modelling results can be incorporated into sustainable watershed management.
Keywords: Hydrological Service, Sustainable Management, Simulation Modelling, Water Balance, Forested Watershed, Anthropogenic Impact, Forest Hydrology
Prof. Peter A. Khaiter
Assistant Professor, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, York University