Partitioning of rainfall into throughfall, stemflow, and interception loss in the Brazilian Northeastern Atlantic Forest

ABSTRACT Information on hydrology, and vegetation distribution is essential for the development of techniques and strategies to cope with droughts in semi-arid environments. The objective of this study was to evaluate the partitioning of gross rainfall into throughfall, stemflow, and interception loss in the Brazilian Northeastern Atlantic Forest, and its correlations with rainfall characteristics. The study was conducted in the Bica watershed, in Portalegre, state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. The work was carried out in 2017, with monitoring of the throughfall, stemflow, and interception loss in an area of 10 × 20 m. Total rainfall depths (TRD) and wind speed were measured, and the evapotranspiration (ET0) was estimated. Based on this information, the intensity (I), kinetic energy (KE) and intensity at intervals of 5, 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 min of each rainfall event were measured. Twenty rainfall events occurred during the study period. The vegetation showed interception of 44.9%, throughfall of 52.9%, and stemflow of 2.2% of the total rainfall. Three principal components (PC) were formed in the PC Analysis, explaining more than 84% of the total variance. PC1, PC2, and PC3 encompassed variables related to rainfall energy to overcome the vegetation physical barrier, inflow and outflow, and variables dependent on the rainfall duration, respectively.