The Effects of Vegetation Removal by Clear Cutting on Temperature at the Saddle Mountain SNOTEL Site,
Oregon Coast Range


William Davidson

Whitman College, Walla Walla WA 99362


In the summer of 2002 Saddle Mountain Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) site was clear cut and left devoid of vegetation. As a result, the local climate of the site has been changed. This project looks at the effects of vegetation removal by clear cutting on temperature at the Saddle Mountain SNOTEL site in the Oregon Coast Range. This paper documents the varied effects of vegetation removal on a small watershed by using observed data at the SNOTEL site. Historic temperature data from the Seine Creek and Saddle Mountain SNOTEL sites provides an approach for characterizing the effects of deforestation. By evaluating the statistical correlation between the average temperature from before and after clearcutting at Saddle Mountain, as compared to Seine Creek SNOTEL it is feasible to interpret how the loss of vegetation has change the temperature regime. Temperature data is a valuable tool in analyzing snow pack as many other snowpack variables, such as melt out rates and density, are influenced by it. Using the hypothesis that non-forested sites reach higher temperatures I compared Saddle Mtn. and Seine Creek sites and found that average temperatures increased during winter months after the clear cut. In addition to temperature data, I looked at historical air photographs of Saddle Mountain to better understand the vegetation present before and after the cut. Vegetation coverage can be used as an indicator of the hydrologic dynamics in a given system. This study hopes to add to the growing knowledge of this relationship.