Examining the Impacts of Wildfire on Throughfall and Stemflow Chemistry and Flux at Plot and Catchment Scales

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/595818
Title:
Examining the Impacts of Wildfire on Throughfall and Stemflow Chemistry and Flux at Plot and Catchment Scales
Author:
White, Alissa Marie
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study investigates the effects of fire on the chemistry and flux of precipitation diverted to the forest floor as stemflow and throughfall by observing the impact of the June 2013 Thompson Ridge Wildfire in the Jemez River Basin of New Mexico. The loss of canopy cover from wildfire drastically modifies landscapes and alters ecosystems as fire replaces leafy canopies with charred branches and trunks, changes soil composition and erosion processes, and affects hydrologic flow paths and water chemistry. In order to track these changes, throughfall and stemflow collectors were installed beneath burned and unburned canopies in two catchments impacted by the Thompson Ridge Fire. Throughfall, stemflow, and open precipitation samples were analyzed for major cations, anions, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, trace metals, and rare earth elements to determine how fire affects the chemical composition of the precipitation that interacts with burned canopies. Precipitation samples collected from both burned and unburned sites during the 2014 summer monsoon season show variations across burn severity, specifically in calcium, strontium, phosphate, and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations, and across collector type with stemflow concentrations generally higher than throughfall and open precipitation concentrations. A stem count model was used to determine tree density for individual plots and catchments from LiDAR images taken before the 2013 fire. The stem count model was used to upscale event and monsoon season solute fluxes from plot to catchment scale. Higher nutrient concentrations combined with higher volumes of precipitation diverted as stemflow in burned forests have a multiplicative effect resulting in greater nutrient fluxes via stemflow creating nutrient hot spots surrounding burned tree trunks. Upscaling these plot scale concentrations and solute fluxes allows this study to represent changes to an entire catchment and quantify effects of wildfire on chemical loads and water chemistry.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Keywords:
Solute Flux; Stemflow; Throughfall; Wildfire; Hydrology; Scale
Degree Name:
M.S.
Degree Level:
masters
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Hydrology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Chorover, Jon; McIntosh, Jennifer

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleExamining the Impacts of Wildfire on Throughfall and Stemflow Chemistry and Flux at Plot and Catchment Scalesen_US
dc.creatorWhite, Alissa Marieen
dc.contributor.authorWhite, Alissa Marieen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractThis study investigates the effects of fire on the chemistry and flux of precipitation diverted to the forest floor as stemflow and throughfall by observing the impact of the June 2013 Thompson Ridge Wildfire in the Jemez River Basin of New Mexico. The loss of canopy cover from wildfire drastically modifies landscapes and alters ecosystems as fire replaces leafy canopies with charred branches and trunks, changes soil composition and erosion processes, and affects hydrologic flow paths and water chemistry. In order to track these changes, throughfall and stemflow collectors were installed beneath burned and unburned canopies in two catchments impacted by the Thompson Ridge Fire. Throughfall, stemflow, and open precipitation samples were analyzed for major cations, anions, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, trace metals, and rare earth elements to determine how fire affects the chemical composition of the precipitation that interacts with burned canopies. Precipitation samples collected from both burned and unburned sites during the 2014 summer monsoon season show variations across burn severity, specifically in calcium, strontium, phosphate, and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations, and across collector type with stemflow concentrations generally higher than throughfall and open precipitation concentrations. A stem count model was used to determine tree density for individual plots and catchments from LiDAR images taken before the 2013 fire. The stem count model was used to upscale event and monsoon season solute fluxes from plot to catchment scale. Higher nutrient concentrations combined with higher volumes of precipitation diverted as stemflow in burned forests have a multiplicative effect resulting in greater nutrient fluxes via stemflow creating nutrient hot spots surrounding burned tree trunks. Upscaling these plot scale concentrations and solute fluxes allows this study to represent changes to an entire catchment and quantify effects of wildfire on chemical loads and water chemistry.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen
dc.subjectSolute Fluxen
dc.subjectStemflowen
dc.subjectThroughfallen
dc.subjectWildfireen
dc.subjectHydrologyen
dc.subjectScaleen
thesis.degree.nameM.S.en
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineHydrologyen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorChorover, Jonen
dc.contributor.advisorMcIntosh, Jenniferen
dc.contributor.committeememberChorover, Jonen
dc.contributor.committeememberMcIntosh, Jenniferen
dc.contributor.committeememberBrooks, Paulen
dc.contributor.committeememberMeixner, Tomen
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