Forest Fires, Land Use Changes and Their Impact on Hydrological Balance in Temperate Forests of Central Mexico
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Author/sRuíz-García, Víctor H.; Borja de la Rosa, Ma. Amparo; Gómez-Díaz, Jesús D.; Asensio Grima, Carlos; Matías-Ramos, Moisés; [et al.]
Temperate forests play a fundamental role in the provision, regulation, and support of hydrological environmental services, but they are subject to constant changes in land use (clearing, overgrazing, deforestation, and forest fires) that upset the hydrological balance. Through scenarios simulated with the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) hydrological model, the present study analyzes the effects of forest fires and land use changes on the hydrological balance in the microwatersheds of central Mexico. The land use changes that took place between 1995 and 2021 were estimated, and projections based on the current scenario were made. Two trend scenarios were proposed for 2047: one with a positive trend (forest permanence) and the other with a negative trend (loss of cover from forest fires). The results show that with permanence or an increase in forest area, the surface runoff would decrease by 48.2%, increasing the base flow by 37% and the soil moisture by 2.3%. If forest is lost, s...