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1 July 2018 Dendrogeomorphological Evidence of Flood Frequency Changes and Human Activities (Portainé Basin, Spanish Pyrenees)
M. Génova, A. Díez-Herrero, G. Furdada, M. Guinau, A. Victoriano
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The Portainé mountain catchment, containing the Port Ainé ski resort (Lleida, Spanish Pyrenees), displays active erosional and depositional phenomena caused by periodic torrential floods. These events present a potential risk and incur significant economic losses. In ungauged remote catchments (like Portainé), trees might be the only paleohydrological source of information regarding past floods. Thus, we estimated the temporal and spatial distribution of torrential floods by dendrogeomorphological techniques to assess whether human impact (land-use changes and infrastructure works) affected their frequency and magnitude. One-hundred and sixty-six samples from 67 trees belonging to 10 different species were analyzed; past flood events of the last 50 years were identified by dating and relating evidence between them. Moreover, a detailed geomorphological study was performed and the available historical data compiled. Our multi-evidence analysis provides new insight into the occurrence of paleofloods. Changes in flood frequency since 2006, especially from 2008, suggest that the geomorphological equilibrium has been disturbed, coinciding with both major earthworks within the ski resort and intense but not extraordinary rainfall. This conclusion has important implications for land planning and the design of future projects in the mountain watersheds.

Copyright © 2018 by The Tree-Ring Society
M. Génova, A. Díez-Herrero, G. Furdada, M. Guinau, and A. Victoriano "Dendrogeomorphological Evidence of Flood Frequency Changes and Human Activities (Portainé Basin, Spanish Pyrenees)," Tree-Ring Research 74(2), 144-161, (1 July 2018).
Received: 8 June 2017; Accepted: 10 March 2018; Published: 1 July 2018

anthropogenic effects
flood frequency changes
ungauged mountain basins
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