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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-64
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2018

Research article | 08 Mar 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Forest harvesting impacts on micrometeorological conditions and sediment transport activities in a humid periglacial environment

Fumitoshi Imaizumi1, Ryoko Nishii2, Kenichi Ueno3, and Kousei Kurobe4 Fumitoshi Imaizumi et al.
  • 1Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka, 422-8529, Japan
  • 2Center for Transdisciplinary Research, Niigata University, Niigata, 950-2181, Japan
  • 3Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8572, Japan
  • 4Pacific Consultants Co., Ltd, Tokyo, 101-8462, Japan

Abstract. Sediment transport activities in the periglacial environment are controlled by hillslopes micrometeorological conditions (i.e., air and ground temperatures, ground water content), which are highly affected by vegetation cover. Thus, there is a possibility that forest harvesting, which is the most dramatic change to vegetation cover in mountain areas, may severely impact sediment transport activities in periglacial areas (i.e., soil creep, dry ravel). Knowledge of the effects of forest harvesting on sediment transport are needed to protect aquatic ecosystems as well as to develop better mitigation measures for preventing sediment disasters. In this study, we investigated changes in sediment transport activities following forest harvesting in steep artificial forests located in a humid periglacial area of the Southern Japanese Alps. In the Southern Japanese Alps, rainfall is abundant in summer and autumn, and air temperatures frequently rise above and fall below 0 degrees in the winter. Our monitoring by time laps cameras revealed that gravitational transport processes (e.g., frost creep and dry ravel) dominate during the freeze-thaw season, while rainfall-induced processes (surface erosion and soil creep) occur during heavy rainfall seasons. Removal of the forest canopy by forest harvesting alters the type of winter soil creep from deeper frost creep to diurnal needle-ice creep. Winter creep velocity of the ground surface sediment in the harvested site was significantly higher than that in the non-harvested site. Meanwhile, sediment flux on the hillslopes observed by sediment traps decreased in the harvested site. Branches of harvested trees left on the hillslopes captured sediment coming from upslope. In addition, the growth of understories after harvesting possibly reduced surface erosion. Consequently, removal of the forest canopy by forest harvesting directly impacts micrometeorological conditions and periglacial sediment transport activity, while sediment flux on hillslopes is also affected by branches left on the hillslopes and recovery of understories.

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We investigated seasonal changes in sediment transport activities following forest harvesting in in a humid periglacial area. Removal of the forest canopy by forest harvesting alters the type of winter soil creep. Winter creep velocity of the ground surface sediment in the harvested site was significantly higher than that in the non-harvested site. Meanwhile, sediment flux on the hillslopes decreased in the harvested site because of capture of sediment by branches of harvested trees.
We investigated seasonal changes in sediment transport activities following forest harvesting in...
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