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Predicting and managing the impacts of commercial plantations on catchment water balances

Predicting and managing the impacts of commercial plantations on catchment water balances

This report describes a project to develop a reliable and accepted planning tool to predict the transpiration and hydrological impacts of existing or proposed plantations in relation to their location and management. A physically-based modelling approach is essential to account for the many interacting environmental and management factors which may influence plantation growth and transpiration.

The project integrated the 3PG+ forest growth model with the PERFECT soil water-balance model in the Catchment Analysis Tool (CAT) framework. The CAT framework comprises a suite of farming systems models, and allows for a detailed representation of the spatial extent and location of land uses, and their effect on catchment water balance.

This study has highlighted the lack of knowledge in representing the evapotranspiration component (and growth) of native forests within CAT and other process-based models used at large scales.

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