The effects of forest cover on base flow of streams in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico, 2010
Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5142
Prepared in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
- Jesús Rodriguez-Martínez and Marilyn Santiago
The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, completed a study to determine whether a relation exists between the extent of forest cover and the magnitude of base flow at two sets of paired drainage basins in the highlands of the municipalities of Adjuntas and Utuado within the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico. One set of paired basins includes the Río Guaónica and Río Tanamá, both tributaries of the Río Grande de Arecibo. The other set includes two smaller basins in the drainage basin of the Río Coabey, which is a tributary of the Río Tanamá. The paired basins in each set have similar rainfall patterns, geologic substrate, and aspect; the principal difference identified in the study is the extent of forest cover and related land uses such as the cultivation of shade and sun coffee. Data describing the hydrology, hydrogeology, and streamflow were used in the analysis. The principal objective of the study was to compare base flow per unit area among basins having different areal extents of forest cover and land uses such as shade coffee and sun coffee cultivation.
Within the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico, a substantial amount of the annual rainfall (45 to 39 percent in the Rio Guaónica and Rio Tanamá, respectively) can migrate to the subsurface and later emerge as base flow in streams. The magnitude of base flow within the two sets of paired basins varies seasonally. Minimum base flows occur during the annual dry season (generally from January to March), and maximum base flows occur during the wet season (generally from August to October). During the dry season or periods of below-normal rainfall, base flow is either the primary or the sole component of streamflow. Daily mean base flow ranged from 3.2 to 20.5 cubic feet per second (ft3 /s) at the Rio Guaónica Basin, and from 4.2 to 23.0 ft3 /s at the Rio Tanamá Basin. The daily mean base flows during 2010 ranged from 0.28 to 0.98 ft3 /s at Tributary 1 and from 0.22 to 0.58 ft3 /s at Tributary 2 of the Rio Coabey. The normalized daily base flow at the Río Guaónica and Río Tanamá Basin during 2010 ranged from 1.3 to 8.1 cubic feet per second per square mile (ft3 /s)/mi2 and from 1.1 to 6.1 (ft3 /s)/mi2 , respectively. The normalized daily base flow for the basins of Tributary 1 and Tributary 2 of Río Coabey during 2010 ranged from 1.0 to 3.6 (ft3 /s)/mi2 and from 1.5 to 3.9 (ft3 /s)/mi2 , respectively.
The normalized mean annual base flow is similar within the larger paired basins of Río Tanamá (2.74 [ft3 /s]/mi2 ) and Río Guaónica (3.15 [ft3 /s]/mi2 ). The mean annual base flow per unit area for both of these basins is about 79 percent of the mean annual streamflow. In the large paired basins, the proportion of Type I land use (forest patches, shade and mixed shade/sun coffee with associated cash crops) is substantially higher in Rio Guaónica Basin (81 percent) than in the Rio Tanamá Basin (59 percent), and the base flow per unit area is also higher. In the small paired basins of Rio Coabey, the proportion of Type I land use is much higher at Tributary 1 (52 percent) than at Tributary 2 (15 percent), but, in contrast to the large basins, the mean annual base flow per unit area is lower (2.22 and 2.62 [ft3 /s]/mi2 , respectively). There is no consistent relation between land use and normalized base flow between the two sets of paired basins in the study.
Rodríguez-Martínez, Jesús, and Santiago, Marilyn, 2017, The effects of forest cover on base flow of streams in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico, 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5142, 19 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165142.
ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)
Table of Contents
- Methods of Investigation
- Effects of Forest Cover on Base Flow of Streams
- Summary and Conclusions
- References Cited
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- The effects of forest cover on base flow of streams in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico, 2010
- Series title:
- Scientific Investigations Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Reston, VA
- Contributing office(s):
- Caribbean Water Science Center
- Report: vii, 19 p.; Data Release
- Other Geospatial:
- Puerto Rico
- Online Only (Y/N):
- Additional Online Files (Y/N):