Predicting changes in early growing season water availability contributed as snowmelt following mountain pine beetle attack

This project with the BC Ministry of Forests and Range intends to use almost entirely existing stand spatial data and snow-melt data to model early season water availability in mountain pine beetle (MPB) affected stands. The resultant canopy loss due to the MPB is likely to have an influence on the volume and timing of snow melt and, consequently, on water availability. The plan is to model changes in stand attributes post-MPB and the consequent changes in early growing season water availability contributed by snow melt in 4 Montane Spruce zone stands aged 20 (thinned and unthinned), 80 and 140 yrs. To model snow ablation in the three stands the research team intends to use a model that consists of the following variables: wind speed, temperature, incident radiation, canopy view factor, and a spatial component (proximity index) that relates snow melt volume and snow pack disappearance rates to the size, species, and distance of adjacent trees.

Trevor Blenner-Hassett
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Suzanne Simard
British Columbia