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Revised Snow Recovery Estimates for Pine-dominated Forests in Interior British Columbia

Author(s) or contact(s): R. Winkler and S. Boon
Source: Forests, Lands, and NR Operations
Subject: Hydrology, Pine Forests, Recovery, Snow, Watershed
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 2015. Hardcopy is available.


In most interior British Columbia watersheds, the single largest annual hydrologic event is the spring streamflow peak, generated primarily by snowmelt. Consequently, changes in snow regime, as influenced by forest cover, can significantly affect spring peak flows.

Loss of forest cover typical of interior British Columbia forests results in 5-70% and 30-100% increases in snow accumulation and ablation rates, respectively. However, these changes are not indeterminate, and diminish as forests regrow. The restoration of stand-scale snow processes to pre-harvest conditions is commonly referred to as snow recovery. Data collected in pine-dominated forests in Interior British Columbia suggest that snow recovery increases from approximately 10% to 80% as young pine forests grow from 5 to 15 m tall where mature trees are 25 m tall.

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Updated October 07, 2015