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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1530

Title: Hydrological effects of fire in South-African mountain catchments
Authors: Scott, DF
Keywords: Fire-hydrological effects
Pine catchments
Fynbos catchments
Mountain catchments
Eucalypt catchments
Soil water yields
Veld fires
Controlled fires
Timber plantation catchments
Issue Date: Oct-1993
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Citation: Scott, DF. 1993. Hydrological effects of fire in South-African mountain catchments. Journal of hydrology, vol 150, 4 February, pp 409-432
Abstract: Stream flow and its storm-flow elements in four catchments were analyzed by the paired catchment method for a response to fire. Prior to burning two of the catchments were vegetated with over-mature fynbos (the indigenous scrub vegetation of the southwestern Cape, South Africa), one was afforested with Pinus radiata and the fourth with Eucalyptus fastigata. One of the fynbos catchments was burned in a prescribed fire in the late dry season. The other catchments burned in wildfires. Neither of the fynbos catchments showed a change in storm-flow. Annual total flow increases of around 16% were in agreement with model predictions, being related to the reductions in transpiration and interception. The manner of stream flow generation appeared to have remained unaltered despite the presence of some water repellency in the soils and consequent overland flow on some steep mid slope sites. The two timber plantation catchments experienced large and significant increases in storm-flows and soil losses, while total flow increased by 12% in the pine catchment and decreased marginally in the eucalypt catchment. The pattern of the storm-flow increases was similar in both cases. After fire, storm hydrographs were higher and steeper though their duration was little changed. The respective first year increases in the pine and eucalypt catchments were 290% and 1110% for peak discharge, 201% and 92% for quick-flow volume, and 242% and 319% for storm response ratio. These fire effects are considered to be due to changes in storm-flow generation consistent with an increased delivery of overland flow (surface runoff) to the stream channel. This was caused, in part, by reduced infiltration resulting from water repellency in the soils of the burned catchments. Overall the hydrological effects of fire are related to numerous interactive factors, including the degree of soil heating, the vegetation type and soil properties.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1530
ISSN: 0022-1694
Appears in Collections:Environmental management
Water resources and human health
General science, engineering & technology

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