Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



U.S. government work


Environmental Modeling and Assessment (2005) 10:9–19 DOI 10.1007/s10666-004-4266-0


Stream discharge of a watershed is affected and altered by climate and landcover changes. These effects vary depending on the magnitude and interaction of the changes, and need to be understood so that local water resource availability can be evaluated and socioeconomic development within a watershed be pursued and managed in a way sustainable with the local water resources. In this study, the landcover and climate change effects on stream discharge from the Jacks Fork River basin in the Ozark Highlands of the south-central United States were examined in three phases: site observation and data collection, model calibration and simulation, and model experiment and analysis. Major results of the study show that climate fluctuations between wet and dry extremes resulted in the same change of the basin discharge regardless of the landcover condition in the basin. On the other hand, under a specified climate condition landcover change from a grassland basin to a fully forested basin only resulted in about one half of the discharge change caused by the climate variation. Furthermore, when landcover change occurred simultaneously with climate variation, the basin discharge change amplified significantly and became larger than the combined discharge changes caused by the climate and landcover change alone, a result indicating a synergistic effect of landcover and climate change on basin discharge variability.