Because snowpack accumulation and melt rates depend on forest structure as well as climate, silvicultural manipulation has the potential to increase snow water storage, change the timing of snowmelt, and restore related ecosystem services, such as fish habitat.
Vegetation changes in maritime mountain basins contribute to shifts in snowmelt and streamflow as much as projected climate change. Over the past 80 years, forest harvesting throughout the western U.S. and western British Columbia has resulted in a shift in the dominant forest structure to young, dense forests. Declining trends in mountain snow water equivalent (SWE), summer river flow, and earlier snowmelt have largely been attributed to climate with little consideration of the role vegetation plays in these hydrologic processes.

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