Long-term impacts of partial afforestation on water and salt dynamics of an intermittent catchment under climate change

Hossein Daneshmand, Sina Alaghmand, Matteo Camporese, Amin Talei, Pat J. -F. Yeh, Edoardo Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Soil salinization is a major environmental issue in arid and semi-arid regions, and has been accelerated in some areas by removal of native vegetation cover. Partial afforestation can be a practical mitigation strategy if efficiently integrated with farms and pastures. Using an integrated surface-subsurface hydrological model, this study evaluates the water and salt dynamics and soil salinization conditions of a rural intermittent catchment in the semi-arid climate of southeast Australia subjected to four different partial afforestation configurations under different climate change scenarios, as predicted by several general circulation models. The results show that the locations of afforested areas can induce a retarding effect in the outflow of groundwater salt, with tree planting at lower elevations showing the steadier salt depletion rates. Moreover, except for the configuration with trees planted near the outlet of the catchment, the streamflow is maintained under all other configurations. It appears that under both Representative Concentration Pathways considered (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5), the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model represents the fastest salt export scheme, whereas the Canadian Earth System Model and the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate represent the slowest salt export scheme. Overall, it is found that the location of partial afforestation generally plays a more significant role than the climate change scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1067
Number of pages19
JournalWater
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Dryland salinity
  • Intermittent catchments
  • MIKE SHE
  • Partial afforestation

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