Meta-analysis of field-saturated hydraulic conductivity recovery following wildland fire: Applications for hydrologic model parameterization and resilience assessment

Hydrological Processes
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Abstract

Hydrologic recovery after wildfire is critical for restoring the ecosystem services of protecting of human lives and infrastructure from hazards and delivering water supply of sufficient quality and quantity. Recovery of soil-hydraulic properties, such as field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs), is a key factor for assessing the duration of watershed-scale flash flood and debris flow risks after wildfire. Despite the crucial role of Kfs in parameterizing numerical hydrologic models to predict the magnitude of postwildfire run-off and erosion, existing quantitative relations to predict Kfsrecovery with time since wildfire are lacking. Here, we conduct meta-analyses of 5 datasets from the literature that measure or estimate Kfs with time since wildfire for longer than 3-year duration. The meta-analyses focus on fitting 2 quantitative relations (linear and non-linear logistic) to explain trends in Kfs temporal recovery. The 2 relations adequately described temporal recovery except for 1 site where macropore flow dominated infiltration and Kfs recovery. This work also suggests that Kfs can have low hydrologic resistance (large postfire changes), and moderate to high hydrologic stability (recovery time relative to disturbance recurrence interval) and resilience (recovery of hydrologic function and provision of ecosystem services). Future Kfs relations could more explicitly incorporate processes such as soil-water repellency, ground cover and soil structure regeneration, macropore recovery, and vegetation regrowth.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Meta-analysis of field-saturated hydraulic conductivity recovery following wildland fire: Applications for hydrologic model parameterization and resilience assessment
Series title Hydrological Processes
DOI 10.1002/hyp.11288
Volume 31
Issue 21
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 15 p.
First page 3682
Last page 3696