In the Upper Penticton Creek Watershed Experiment, one of the most important goals is to understand how water moves through, and flows from, forested watersheds. The movement of water through the physical environment is often called the hydrologic cycle. Much of the rain and snow falling on a forest is caught by the branches of trees from where it may evaporate. Water that reaches the ground may be stored in the soil, or be taken up and transpired by plants. These processes reduce the proportion of precipitation that flows out of the watershed as streamflow. Land use, such as logging and road construction, can alter the proportion of precipitation reaching the ground and affect the amount and timing of water delivered to stream channels. A clear understanding of how each part of the hydrologic cycle affects streamflow is essential to the development of land management guidelines that ensure flow regimes are not significantly altered by forest land use.
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Updated October 17, 2008