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Über dieses Buch

The book aims to address the interdisciplinary targets of watershed management in mountain regions based on the current knowledge of the subject. The focus of the book is particularly on monitoring, research, and modelling the interactions between the climate, water cycle, and aquatic ecosystem. The issues of watershed management in mountain regions in different parts of Europe, Africa, America and Asia have been the central theme of the book, which is basically divided into five sections: Institutional aspects in control of mountain regions; Stream-flow processes in mountain catchments; Water chemistry and biota in mountain streams and lakes; Effects of forest practices and climate change on hydrological phenomena; and Soil conservation and control of floods and landslides.

The contributions have been peer-reviewed and the interdisciplinary team of authors includes experts from the specialised areas of geography, hydrology, chemistry, biology, forestry, ecology, economy and sociology. The practical applications and management strategies mentioned in the book, deal with the integrated resource management approach, based on the compromise between the development, conservation/ protection of the nature. Finally, the socio-economic and cultural aspects, and ecosystem prevalent in a mountain catchment are discussed in detail.



Institutional Aspects in Control of Mountain Regions


1. Mission and History of the European Forestry Commission Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds

The European Forestry Commission Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds, formerly called the Working Party on Torrent Control, Protection from Avalanches and Watershed Management, was established by the European Forestry Commission (EFC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the occasion of its Third Session on 1 September 1950.
T. Hofer, P. Ceci

2. Hydrological Change Management from Headwaters to the Ocean: HydroChange 2008, Kyoto

The European Forestry Commission Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds, formerly called the Working Party on Torrent Control, Protection from Avalanches and Watershed Management, was established by the European Forestry Commission (EFC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the occasion of its Third Session on 1 September 1950.
M. Katsuyama, M. Haigh, K. Yamamoto, T. Endo, M. Taniguchi

3. Water Management Adaptation Strategies for Land Use Changes and Increased Climate Variability in Mountain Communities in Western Canada

The Columbia River in Western North America originates in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada and flows into the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. The river is 2000 km long, has the highest vertical gradient of any major rivers in North America and covers an area of 670,000 km2. There are 14 major hydropower stations on the main stem of the river and more than 300 smaller stations distributed throughout the basin that provide the majority of the electricity for the Pacific North-West. The Canadian portion of the basin covers only 15% of the total watershed area but provides approximately 40% of the water that flows downstream. Fifty percent of the electricity consumed by the 4.3 million people in British Columbia is produced in the Canadian portion of the Columbia Basin. More than 80% of the Canadian headwater area is forested and under alpine cover and the river system is dominated by snowmelt and selective contributions from glaciers.
Hans Schreier

4. Environmental Education and Catchment Citizenship in Mountain Regions

Community participation and engagement is a key ingredient in effective mountain watershed management and one that tends to be neglected by those applied scientists whose focus is exclusively upon the physical or even economic environment. The challenge for those engaged in the technical, economic or planning and development of mountain watershed is how to engage community partners and how to spread understanding of the technical problems of applied watershed management into the community sufficiently that local communities are able to develop as informed, empowered and active catchment citizens, capable of acting as critical friends in watershed management decision making (Ewing et al., 2000). As Robert Ferrier and Alan Jenkins (2009) put it: “Catchments are naturally leaky and thus part of the responsibility should be borne by the a grassroots level with catchment citizens and other organizations”. However, achieving this goal involves community-based environmental education and the mobilization of community stakeholder groups (Blackstock and Richards, 2007).
Claude Poudrier

Stream-flow Processes in Mountain Catchments


5. Integrated Hydrological Model for Mountain Ecosystem Assessment

In Japan, more than 70% of the land surfaces are covered with forest and most of these are coniferous forest plantation for timber production. However, the timber price slump according to the economical depression and declining birthrate and growing proportion of elderly people are accelerating vast forest deterioration. Furthermore, with the global warming, many regions have been experiencing the hydrological extremes such as heavy rainfall and severe floods or droughts. Consequently, most of the farmers and foresters who lived in mountainous area had to settle to the urban area located in the lower reaches of the river basin. Then, most of these abandoned mountainous areas are becoming inadequately managed forest which might frequently cause land surface erosion or severe land slide. To make matters worse, the extreme hydrological events are aggravating the floods, soil erosion and droughts, and are projected to increase until the end of this century (Kitoh et al., 2009). Accordingly, these are damaging to forest and river ecosystems in the mountainous areas.
Yoshinobu Sato

6. Investigation and Modelling of Subarctic Wetland Hydrology ‒ A Case Study in the Deer River Watershed, Canada

Wetlands are generally defined as bogs, fens, swamps, marshes and shallow water where soil is saturated with moisture or inundated by surface or groundwater either permanently or seasonally. They provide benefits such as wildlife habitats, groundwater reservation, water purification, storage of organic carbon and adaptation to climatic change (Price et al., 2005). The subarctic region covers much of northern Canada and is often characterized by taiga forest vegetation with relatively mild winters (Petrescu et al., 2010). The taiga consists primarily of coniferous forest and is interspersed by lichen and wetland landscapes such as bog marsh and muskeg. These subarctic wetlands, which are acknowledged as an important ecotone between arctic tundra and boreal forest, span almost 3% of the Canadian landscape and offer habitats for wild lives (Price and Waddington, 2000). Recently, investigation and conservation of subarctic wetlands has been recognized as an attractive route because of their unique hydrologic features and vulnerability to climate change (Rouse et al., 1997; Woo and Young, 2003; Woo and Thorne, 2006; Ström and Christensen, 2007).
Bing Chen, Liang Jing, Baiyu Zhang

7. Flash Floods in Alpine Basins

Flash floods are a very hazardous natural process causing major economic damage and fatalities under different climates (Douben, 2006). The potential for flash flood casualties and damage is also increasing in many regions due to the social and economic development increasing pressure on land use. Flash floods are characterised by rapid hydrological response, with discharges attaining the peak within less than one hour to a few hours. The fast time response of flash floods, which causes major concerns in the forecast of these processes and in the management of associated risks, is due to the small size of affected catchments (usually up to a few hundreds of square kilometres), as well as to the activation of rapid runoff processes. Flash floods are common also in alpine regions, where, due to the large availability of loose debris and to steep slopes, their occurrence is often associated to debris flows and shallow landslides on soil-mantled slopes. This results in the simultaneous occurrence of different types of hazards, which require different control measures.
Lorenzo Marchi, Marco Borga

8. Peak Discharge Prediction in Torrential Catchments of the French Pyrenees: The ANETO Method

In the mountains, torrential runoff and torrential rivers have considerable potential for damage. They are liable to seriously threaten the physical integrity of the individuals and property exposed, as demonstrated by the 23rd June 1875 disaster in Verdun sur Ariège (71 victims) or, more recently, the 14th July 1987 event at Le Grand-Bornand (23 victims). In France, about 4500 communes are concerned by the torrential risk. Prevention of and protection against these phenomena are therefore a crucial problem, requiring continuous improvements to our understanding of the various processes involved.
Christophe Peteuil, Simon Carladous, Nicolle Mathys

Water Chemistry and Biota in Mountain Streams and Lakes


9. Measurement of Stream Bed Stability Characteristics Relevant to Lotic Ecosystems

Climate change and anthropogenic pressure have led to significant impacts on rivers and streams in most parts of the world (Wohl, 2006; Vörösmarty et al., 2000). Changes in rainfall patterns and altered land use may affect the flow regime, catchment erosion and thus sediment supply to river systems. Human influence via damming, water abstraction and channel modification additionally impacts on flow regime and sediment dynamics (Wang et al., 2001). These alterations directly affect stream bed stability which is a key habitat parameter for lotic ecosystems (Jowett, 2003). As a response to changes in substrate stability the species composition and functionality of these ecosystems may adjust. Thus it is important for ecologists to be able to identify relevant characteristics of stream bed stability and to quantify them.
Arved C. Schwendel

10. Stream Habitat Fragmentation Caused by Road Networks in Spanish Low-order Forest Catchments

Designing and maintaining optimal road networks is one of the most crucial factors in forest management influencing cost-effective timber harvesting, fire control and safety, forest inventory and monitoring, game control, residential access and recreational use in mountain watersheds (Lugo and Gucinski, 2000; Janowsky and Becker, 2003; Demir et al., 2009). Planning for multi-functional road networks with minimum environmental impacts is an essential aim of forest management nowadays (Gumus et al., 2008; Eastaugh and Molina, 2011). However, forest roads continue to be a major source of impact on natural ecosystems (Spelleberg, 1998; Trombulak and Frissell, 2000; Seiler, 2001). In the United States, around one fifth of its surface area is ecologically impacted by roads (Forman and Alexander, 1998). Forest managers need an improved understanding about the potential environmental impact of road networks in different settings on which to base appropriate planning, maintenance and decommissioning of roads. In this sense, studying the impact of roads on stream ecosystems is a good compromise solution. Streams are especially suitable indicators of environmental change because they are extremely sensitive systems that integrate changes occurring over the entire catchment area (Williamson et al., 2008).
Jorge García Molinos

11. Mountain Watershed in Lesotho: Water Quality, Anthropogenic Impacts and Challenges

The Kingdom of Lesotho is divided into four agro-ecological zones (AEZ):the Lowland, Senqu River valley, Foot-Hills and Mountains (Table 1).Approximately two thirds of the country is formed by rangelands and permanent pastures. Most soils show low levels of organic carbon, available phosphorus, and pH (≤3.5). The highest population pressure is in the lowland AEZ (Table 1), where the arable land is facing mainly problems of soil erosion and land degradation. Multi-resource management of Lesotho mountain wetlands claims the support of livestock-pastures, production of several important medicinal plants, and the source of water flow in the Senqu/Orange River. However, in wetlands of Lesotho, degradation processes are also evident, particularly following the extend overgrazing.
Olaleye Adesola Olutayo

Effects of Forest Practices and Climate Change on Hydrological Phenomena


12. Forest Ecosystems Changes and Hydrological Processes in Western Carpathians

The total mountain land of Poland (over 500 m a.s.l.) occupies only 3% (about 10,000 km2) of the total territory of Poland. Despite small area, mountain areas in Poland play an important role in water management: contribute to 30% of the water resources, mainly rivers. Surface water resources (measured as an average river runoff in many years), being 28% of the precipitation sum, are 1660 m3year-1 per capita.
T. Stanislaw Niemtur, Edward Pierzgalski

13. Hydrological Effects of a Large Scale Windfall Degradation in the High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

Influence of deforestation on hydrological cycle has been a subject of numerous studies since the beginning of the 20th century. A temporary increase of discharges after deforestation was typically reported (e.g. Bosch and Hewlett, 1982), but the measured data often show that“.. flood and erosion control functions of the forests become to be evident but only in a limited way...” (Bíba et al., 2006). A recent review of the articles dealing with the influence of forests on runoff can be found e.g. in Kostka and Holko (2006). Extraordinary wind induced deforestation which took place on 19 November 2004 in the High Tatra Mountains initiated a multidisciplinary international research.
Ladislav Holko, Peter Fleischer, Viliam Novák, Zdeněk Kostka, S. Bičárová, Ján Novák

14. Interception Storage in a Small Alpine Catchment

Interception is an important process of the hydrological cycle, although it has been often neglected in hydrological considerations (Gerrits et al., 2010). Generally, interception loss is understood as a part of precipitation detained on vegetation canopy or leaf litter. Where vegetation is present, precipitation consists of gross rainfall (observed above the canopy or in a nearby open field), canopy through-fall and stem-flow. In stratified forest communities, where water drips from the canopy and is still intercepted by lower plants, secondary interception occurs. David and Gash (1989) reports the interception loss from forests in the range from 8 to 60% of the gross rainfall (from 25 to 75% of the overall evapotranspiration).
Petr Puncochar, Josef Krecek, Adriaan van de Griend

15. Long-Term Effects of Silvicultural Practices on Groundwater Quality in Boreal Forest Environment

Logging disturbances in boreal forest watersheds alter strongly a forest ecosystem resulting in different light, moisture and temperature conditions (Kubin and Kemppainen, 1991, 1994) and new distribution of forest biomass (Kubin, 1977). The effects on watercourses depend on the regeneration method used. Clear-cutting and site preparation cause the greatest changes in site conditions and to the environment. The oldest research carried out within the boreal coniferous forest zone on the leaching of nutrients into watercourses was conducted in Sweden in the early 1970s (Tamm et al., 1974; Wiklander, 1974). In Finland, the effect of clear-cutting and site preparation on the quality of surface runoff has been monitored since 1974 (Kubin, 1995) and on the leaching of nutrients from entire catchment areas since 1983 (Ahtiainen, 1988). The leaching of nutrients into the groundwater after clear cutting and waste wood harvesting has been monitored since 1986 (Kubin, 1998).
E. Kubin

16. Modelling 100 Years of C and N Fluxes at Fertilized Swedish Mountainous Spruce Forests

Carbon sequestration by increased N application has been suggested as an efficient method to reduce green house gas emissions. The boreal forest is one of the largest biomes of the earth where a lot of the world’s soil carbon is stored. Obviously a high potential for carbon sequestration (Cannel, 2003) exists but high uncertainties are related to methods of accurate quantifications.
Harald Grip, Per-Erik Jansson

Soil Conservation and Control of Floods and Landslides


17. The Forests of Lake Balaton Catchment and Their Role in Soil Conservation

Among the land use categories the forests have a special and very important role in nature and environmental protection. The forest decreases the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, filters polluted air, isolates noise, mitigates temperature changes, diminishes soil temperature by 2-4 degrees ensuring even temperature conditions, lowers wind velocity, increases air humidity and has many more favourable effects on nature and society. The forests play an important role in the water regime of a given area. The large canopy surface slows down the velocity of the rain, most of the rain water remains in the forest and surface water will be converted to subsurface water. Forests protect the soil from drying out, they provide a special microclimate and have a positive climatic influence on the climate of the nearby areas. The above mentioned favourable effects of the forest are only a few out of a long series hereafter we will concentrate on the soil protecting effects.
Ádám Kertész

18. Landslide Disasters: Seeking Causes – A Case Study from Uttarakhand, India

This study is about the fundamental causes and character of landslides in the Himalaya and similar mountain belts. In part, it is intended as a protest against the repetitive and misleading reports that so often follow each successive extreme rainfall event and consequent landslide swarm. The problem is that many of these.‘kneejerk’. reactions to a disaster do little more than support folklore or a particular political stance.
Martin Haigh, J. S. Rawat

19. Control of Landslides in Mountain Watersheds, Japan

In 2008, Japan has celebrated the 50 years anniversary of the legal establishment of the .“Landslide Prevention Law.”. This law, which supplies a specific legal basis for whole public works for landslide prevention and control, was enacted in 1958. Nowadays various techniques are available for comprehensive control of landslide disasters, including investigation and analysis methods, planning and design of control measures, as well as maintenance and administration of installed structures.
Hideaki Marui


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