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Where do land use changes affect storm runoff?


Presented at the XXV General Assembly of the European Geophysical Society
Nice, France, 2000.






A methodology was developed to classify areas with different types of dominant runoff processes in catchments during phases of intense precipitation using geo-information of soils, geology, topography and land use. Important runoff processes, which contribute to storm runoff, are Horton overland flow, saturation overland flow and fast subsurface flow. Other areas with high infiltration rates and storage capacity do not directly contribute to storm runoff. Maps of dominant runoff processes were developed in three meso-scale catchments in Germany with different land use composition. The objective of this study is to evaluate possible effects of land use changes on the reduction of storm runoff. In areas, where the runoff contribution is negligible due to high infiltration and storage capacity, a change in land use has no effect. A reduction of storm runoff is only possible in catchments, where a significant proportion of storm runoff is generated in areas, that can be influenced by land use changes. Possible effects of land use change scenarios in the three catchments, based on different spatial distribution of the dominant runoff processes, are presented and discussed.