Increasing Rainfall (increasing + rainfall)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Contribution of intercepted subsurface flow to road runoff and sediment transport in a logging-disturbed tropical catchment

J. N. Negishi
Abstract Hydrological and sediment fluxes were monitored for a 1 yr period in a tropical headwater catchment where a 3 yr old logging road caused substantial Hortonian overland flow (HOF) and intercepted subsurface flow (ISSF). On a 515 m road section, ISSF became an increasingly important component of total road runoff, up to more than 90% for large storms. The proportion of ISSF contributed by road cuts along more or less planar slopes compared with ISSF from a zero-order basin (convergent slopes) truncated by the road declined with increasing rainfall. During the monitored storms that generated ISSF along the road, on average, 28% of sediment export and 79% of runoff from the road section were directly attributable to ISSF. Estimates of total sediment export from the road surface (170 t ha,1 yr,1) and suspended sediment export from the logging-disturbed catchment (4 t ha,1 yr,1) were exceptionally high despite 3 yr of recovery. ISSF caused not only additional road-generated sediment export, but also exacerbated HOF-driven erosion by creating a poor foundation for vegetation recovery on the road surface. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Rainfall in arid zones: possible effects of climate change on the population ecology of blue cranes

Res Altwegg
Summary 1.,Understanding the demographic mechanisms through which climate affects population dynamics is critical for predicting climate change impacts on biodiversity. In arid habitats, rainfall is the most important forcing climatic factor. Rainfall in arid zones is typically variable and unpredictable, and we therefore hypothesise that its seasonality and variability may be as important for the population ecology of arid zone animals as its total amount. 2.,Here we examine the effect of these aspects of rainfall on reproduction and age specific survival of blue cranes (Anthropoides paradiseus Lichtenstein) in the semi-arid eastern Nama Karoo, South Africa. We then use our results to predict the effect of changes in rainfall at the population level. 3.,Using combined capture-mark-resighting and dead-recovery models, we estimated average survival of cranes to be 053 in their first year, 073 in their second and third year, and 096 for older birds. 4.,We distinguished between three seasons, based on the blue cranes' breeding phenology: early breeding season, late breeding season and nonbreeding season. Cranes survived better with increasing rainfall during the late but not early breeding season. Based on road counts and success of monitored nests, reproduction was positively associated with rainfall during the early but not late breeding season. 5.,A matrix population model predicted that population growth rate would increase with increasing rainfall. A stochastic analysis showed that variation in early breeding season rainfall increased population growth slightly due to the nonlinear relationship between rainfall and reproduction. This effect was opposed by the effect of variation in late breeding season rainfall on survival and overall, variation in rainfall had a negligible effect on population growth. 6.,Our results allow predictions to be made for a range of climate-change scenarios. For example, a shift in seasonality with drier springs but wetter summers would likely decrease reproduction but increase survival, with little overall effect on population growth. [source]

The effect of fire season, fire frequency, rainfall and management on fire intensity in savanna vegetation in South Africa

Summary 1Fire is important for the maintenance and conservation of African savanna ecosystems. Despite the importance of fire intensity as a key element of the fire regime, it is seldom measured or included in fire records. 2We estimated fire intensity in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, by documenting fuel loads, fuel moisture contents, rates of fire spread and the heat yields of fuel in 956 experimental plot burns over 21 years. 3Individual fires were conducted in five different months (February, April, August, October and December) and at five different return intervals (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 years). Estimated fire intensities ranged from 28 to 17 905 kW m,1. Fire season had a significant effect on fire intensity. Mean fire intensities were lowest in summer fires (1225 kW m,1), increased in autumn fires (1724 kW m,1) and highest in winter fires (2314 kW m,1); they were associated with a threefold difference between the mean moisture content of grass fuels in winter (28%) and summer (88%). 4Mean fuel loads increased with post-fire age, from 2964 kg ha,1 on annually burnt plots to 3972 kg ha,1 on biennial, triennial and quadrennial burnt plots (which did not differ significantly), but decreased to 2881 kg ha,1 on sexennial burnt plots. Fuel loads also increased with increasing rainfall over the previous 2 years. 5Mean fire intensities showed no significant differences between annual burns and burns in the biennial, triennial and quadrennial categories, despite lower fuel loads in annual burns, suggesting that seasonal fuel moisture effects overrode those of fuel load. Mean fire intensity in sexennial burns was less than half that of other burns (638 vs. 1969 kW m,1). 6We used relationships between season of fire, fuel loads and fire intensity in conjunction with the park's fire records to reconstruct broad fire intensity regimes. Changes in management from regular prescribed burning to ,natural' fires over the past four decades have resulted in a decrease in moderate-intensity fires and an increase in high-intensity fires. 7The highest fire intensities measured in our study (11 000 , > 17 500 kW m,1) were significantly higher than those previously reported for African savannas, but were similar to those in South American cerrado vegetation. The mean fire intensity for late dry season (winter) fires in our study was less than half that reported for late dry season fires in savannas in northern Australia. 8Synthesis and applications. Fire intensity has important effects on savanna vegetation, especially on the dynamics of the tree layer. Fire intensity varies with season (because of differences in fuel moisture) as well as with fuel load. Managers of African savannas can manipulate fire intensity by choosing the season of fire, and further by burning in years with higher or lower fuel loads. The basic relationships described here can also be used to enhance fire records, with a view to building a long-term data set for the ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of fire management. [source]

Dynamics of a protected black rhino (Diceros bicornis) population: Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Halszka Hrabar
Achieving maximum productivity in remnant populations of black rhinoceros is crucial to the persistence of this species. It was, therefore, investigated whether the black rhino population of Pilanesberg National Park had become regulated by resource limitation 22 years after introduction in 1979. Inter-calving intervals (which are not restricted to yearly time increments, due to asynchronous reproduction) decreased with an increase in rainfall, while the percentage of male calves born increased with increasing rainfall. The percentage of reproductive cows achieving maternal success increased with increasing density until 0.085 rhinos/km2, after which it decreased. This positive relationship at low densities is largely due to changes in the female age structure and the adult female/male ratio. The age at first calving tended to increase with increasing density, while mortality was not related to rainfall or density. It is concluded that the Pilanesberg black rhino population is showing the first signs of density dependence. It is proposed that black rhino conservators should monitor the percentage of cows achieving maternal success to detect early indications of density dependent resource limitation and use this as a criteria for decisions regarding metapopulation management. [source]