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The relative effects of a Pinus plantation on the hydrology of an Atlantic dune system. (Newborough Warren case study)

Martin Hollingham (2008)


The annual hydrological effects of an established pine forest on coastal sand dune system were measured using water level records from 1989-1996 and 2006-2008. Previous research at Newborough based on records from 1989-1996 indicated that the forest may lower the water levels and induce vegetation changes in the adjacent warren. Yet winter flooding was observed in 2005-2008, and between Aug 1996 and Aug 2008 water levels have risen on average 0.7m in the Forest and 0.4m in the Warren .

The annual change in storage for the Forest, Warren or the Border areas calculated from the 1989-1996 and 2006-2008 water level records (annual mean: Forest = -16 mm, Border = -21mm, Warren = -25mm). The annual change in Forest storage was 55% and the Border 90% of Warren Storage). Drainage estimates were calculated using the water balance equation. For a given Warren drainage, the change in Forest storage was 10mm lower, while the change in Border storage was up to 15mm lower. For a given effective precipitation, drainage from the forest is 1.4%, and the Border 0.3% of effective precipitation lower than the warren.

Increases in evapotranspiration from the Forest are small and insignificant compared to effective precipitation and drainage, and are compensated for by a decrease in drainage. Removing parts of the Forest to increase water levels on the Warren , will be effective where the trees are removed, but will have little impact on the annual hydrological balance of the Warren .



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