Master's Theses

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

First Advisor

Kyle McDonald

Second Advisor

Reiner Zimmermann

Third Advisor

Steven Kidder

Keywords

Hispaniola, transpiration, Sierra de Bahoruco

Abstract

Lake Enriquillo is located in the southwestern extreme of Dominican Republic and has been experiencing a rapid expansion in surface area, along with other water bodies in the same region, since 2004 causing major flooding to the surrounding agricultural and cattle-raising lands, infrastructure and communities. Understanding why the lake is expanding at such rapid rate and accurately forecast how they will behave in the future is the main goal of The Hispaniola Lakes Project. The purpose of this project is to investigate the effects that hydrometeorological drivers are having on the forested areas located in Sierra de Bahoruco, which is located in the southern part of the lake catchment, and to determine if evapotranspiration (ET) values are decreasing at the watershed. Remote sensing derived monthly ET data from 2000 to 2014 was obtained from the MODIS Global ET Project from the University of Montana and used to determine ET rain based seasonalities for the forest, dry forest, agriculture and dry bush land classes. Also, vegetation water fluxes are being monitored in Hispaniola Pines at two sites in Sierra de Bahoruco using Granier’s sap flow sensors, dendrometers, and thermistors, along with co-located weather stations. The lowest site, Zapotén (1537 masl), is part of the tropical montane cloud forest and consists of a mix of pines and broadleaf trees. The highest elevation, Loma del Toro (2355 masl), is a pure pine stand above the cloud forest. It was found that the average annual ET in the forest land class was 118 mm and the average annual transpiration from the pines was about 65% of total ET. In addition, linear trends didn’t show any significant change (p>0.05) for any land class or any seasonality. From the available data, it can be concluded that the increase in lake size is not related to a decrease in ET values in the lake watershed.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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