Description: Rainfall interception is one mechanism by which tree canopies can reduce surface runoff in urban areas. The objectives of this research were to: 1) quantify rainfall interception by urban tree canopies, and 2) determine the influence of vegetation and microenvironmental factors on rainfall interception rates. In the city of Denton, Texas, 30 mature post oak (Quercus stellata) and blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) trees were selected for study. Trees were assigned to one of three categories: clusters of trees on greenspace (CG), isolated trees on greenspace (IG), and isolated trees surrounded by pavement (IP). Throughfall (the volume of water that travels through the canopy and reaches the soil surface) collectors were placed beneath these trees and rainfall collectors were placed in nearby open areas. Throughfall and rainfall were collected daily from 19 March to 4 July. Interception was calculated as the difference between throughfall and gross rainfall. Over the study period, there were 27 days with measurable rainfall; daily rainfall ranged from 1-51 mm. Over the sampling period, rainfall interception for individual trees ranged from -10% to 49%, indicating high spatial variability in interception. Percent interception was highest for the CG treatment (22.7 ± 3.8 SE), intermediate for IG (27.4 ± 2.3 SE), and lowest for IP (9.1 ± 4.9 SE). Factors like wind exposure, wind-driven rain and overall tree health may help explain this variability. This research will contribute to our knowledge of hydrological fluxes in urban areas and the role of urban green infrastructure in stormwater runoff mitigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Edington, Patrick