Changes in peak flow with decreased forestry practices: Analysis using watershed runoff data

Hikaru Komatsu, Yoshinori Shinohara, Tomonori Kume, Kyoichi Otsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of forestry practices such as thinning and pruning have gradually decreased since the 1980s. Researchers have noted an increased flood risk with decreased forestry practices for coniferous plantations in Japan on the basis of infiltration and overland flow measurements at a plot scale (typically several square meters). However, no studies have examined changes in peak flow with decreased forestry practices at a watershed scale (typically several tens or hundreds of square kilometers) even though flood disasters generally occur at this scale in Japan. We examined changes in frequency distributions of daily precipitation (P) and runoff (Q) during the period 1979-2007 at the Terauchi watershed, where forestry practices are known to have decreased. For this purpose, we divided P and Q data into 14 and 15 classes according to the magnitude, respectively, and examined changes in the frequency for each class during the period. We observed no significant increasing trend for any P or Q class. Even when taking into account the effect of interannual variations in precipitation on the frequency for each Q class, there was no significant increasing trend in the frequencies except for two Q classes with moderate Q values. These results suggest that the increase in flood risk due to decreased forestry practices might be less than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1528-1536
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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