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Water Yield Changes after Converting a Forested Catchment to Grass


  • A. R. Hibbert


A 22-acre catchment in the southern Appalachians was cleared of hardwood forest in 1958 and 1959 and seeded to Kentucky 31 fescue grass in 1959 and 1960. The amount of evapotranspiration by the grass cover was closely related to the amount of grass produced. During years when grass production was high, water yield from the catchment was about the same as or less than the expected yield from the original forest. As grass productivity declined, water yield gradually increased until it exceeded the predicted yield from the forest by over 5 inches annually. The grass appeared to evaporate more water early in the spring and less water late in the summer than the original forest cover.