Anatomy of a catchment: the relation of physical attributes of the Plynlimon catchments to variations in hydrology and water status
Abstract. The Plynlimon headwater catchments in mid-Wales have been a landmark study of water resources in the UK uplands for over 30 years. The main physical features of the catchments have been digitised as the basis for linking new model developments and process understanding. Examples are given of how the main physical attributes are related to land management, hydrology and water quality. These data are also being used to provide insights into catchment processes that may underpin the development of new research. This work is particularly relevant given the need for the assessment of water status under the Water Framework Directive. The paper presents hypothetical management scenarios for the catchments, to show how ecological status may be improved, for example, by selectively restructuring areas of commercial forest.
Keywords: Plynlimon, GIS, catchment study, forestry, hydrology, WFD