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Effect of reforestation on annual water yield in a large watershed in northeast China

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A simplified water balance model in conjunction with an evapotranspiration (ET) model and cumulative forest cover data were used to quantify the changes in annual water yield in response to reforestation in a large watershed, northeast China. Cumulative forest cover increased by 22 %, leading to a significant decrease in estimated annual water yield. Reforestation increased ET (P = 0.0144), resulting in a remarkable decrease (P = 0.0001) in estimated annual water yield according to the water balance model. Reforestation increased ET by 33 mm and decreased annual water yield by 38 mm per decade. The effect of reforestation on annual water yield can be quantified using a simplified water balance model in a large watershed, although our reforestation area was small (about 20 %) in relation to the total watershed area.

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This work was financially supported by the State Forestry Administration of China (201404201), the Guangxi Natural Science Foundation of China (2012GXNSFBA053140), the Fundamental Research Funds of Guangxi Academy of Sciences (13YJ22ZWS22) and the Guangxi Institute of Botany (12001). This paper also was supported by CFERN & GENE Award Funds on Ecological Paper. The authors thank the Ministry of Forests and the Hydrological Bureau of Yichun City for providing assistance during our field investigation and data collection. We also appreciate the constructive comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers to improve the quality of our manuscript, and thank Stephen Maciejewski for language correction.

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Correspondence to Tijiu Cai.

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Project funding: This work was financially supported by the State Forestry Administration of China (201404201), the Guangxi Natural Science Foundation of China (2012GXNSFBA053140), the Fundamental Research Funds of Guangxi Academy of Sciences (13YJ22ZWS22), the Guangxi Institute of Botany (12001), and CFERN & GENE Award Funds on Ecological Paper.

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Corresponding editor: Yu Lei

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Yao, Y., Cai, T., Ju, C. et al. Effect of reforestation on annual water yield in a large watershed in northeast China. J. For. Res. 26, 697–702 (2015).

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