Spatial variability of throughfall in a subtropical rain forest in Taiwan

Teng Chiu Lin*, Steven P. Hamburg, Hen Biau King, Yue Joe Hsia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Eight rainfalls were intensively sampled in a subtropical rain forest in northeastern Taiwan. This study, carried out at Fu-shan Experimental Forest was designed to examine variability of throughfall characteristics. The volume and chemistry of the throughfall associated with individual rains have a high degree of spatial variability, with throughfall chemistry more variable than volume. When data from all of the storms were combined, there was lower variability than that seen with individual storms, largely as a result of a lack of consistent storm to storm spatial variation. Thus, individual storms cannot be used to represent the seasonal or annual pattern of spatial variation in throughfall chemistry or volume of the study forest. Twenty samples were required to estimate throughfall volume within 10% of the population mean with 95% confidence for individual storms. Yet, more than 100 samples were required to estimate the throughfall chemistry of some ions (e.g., H+). When the data from all eight storms were combined, 7, 20, and 25 samples were necessary to estimate throughfall volume, ion concentrations, and ion fluxes (except for Mg2+ and H+) within 10% of the population mean with 95% confidence. In the absence of estimates of spatial variation, differences in sampling protocols among throughfall studies make comparisons of throughfall characteristics difficult. In this study three funnels were used in tandem to capture small scale variability at each sample location, thus reducing spatial variability of throughfall chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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