Watershed response to longleaf pine restoration–application of paired watersheds on the Santee Experimental ForestThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Restoration of longleaf pine (LLP) is a prominent land management objective throughout the Southeastern United States. Several recent tree- and plot-scale studies suggest that water yield from LLP-dominated landscapes may increase relative to loblolly or mixed pine hardwoods due to differences in stand structure and the higher water use efficiency of LLP. Here we present a new long-term, watershed scale study to test those hypotheses, whereby a watershed dominated by loblolly pine is being restored to LLP using operational silvicultural treatments. We are using a paired watershed approach at the Santee Experimental Forest in South Carolina. Hydrologic responses are being measured using established and new stations for monitoring rainfall, climate, water table, soil moisture, stream flow, and water quality. Vegetation and soil responses will be determined through longitudinal assessment of established inventory plots. Simulation models are being used to guide field data collection and projecting long term hydrological responses under multiple scenarios. This study was implemented in 2018 with the baseline assessment, and the treatments will be installed in 2019-2020.