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paired catchment

Definition Source References

Paired catchment studies have been widely used to assess the likely impact of land use change on water yield around the world. Such studies involve the use of two catchments (drainage basins) with similar characteristics in terms of slope, aspect, soils, area, precipitation and vegetation located adjacent to each other. Following a calibration period, where both catchments are monitored, one of the catchments is subjected to treatment and the other remains as a control. This allows the climatic variability to be accounted for in the analysis. The change in water yield can then be attributed to changes in vegetation. The paired catchment studies reported in the literature can be divided into four broad categories: (i) afforestation experiments; (ii) regrowth experiments; (iii) deforestation experiments; and (iv) forest conversion experiments.

Global assessment (1st work programme) Best et al., 2003