Soil & Plant Hydrology

The amount of water in soil is a key factor that determines the distribution of precipitation between runoff, evapotranspiration, and groundwater supply (percolation). The total volume of water bound in the soil is disproportionately smaller compared to other reservoirs, but thanks to its significant influence on the cycle of water, energy and biogeochemical cycles, it represents an essential component of the entire system. Distribution of water in vertical soil profile is influenced by a whole range of factors, which include geology, topography, land use, vegetation cover and the climate of the area. It is the combination of these factors, which are highly variable themselves, that causes high temporal and spatial variability of the amount of soil water. As part of our research, we deal with the description of the soil water regime under different vegetation with an emphasis on the different behavior of the catchment in periods of moisture deficiency and excess.

In short:

We examine linkages among vegetation cover, climate, and soil moisture.

Link to climate change:

The expected changes in climatic conditions will prompt a change in the species composition of our forests and to more frequent occurrence of meteorological anomalies. This will lead to changes in the water cycle.

Societal relevance:

Our goal is to find out how changes in the vegetation cover will impact the amount of usable water in the landscape.

Research Activities

  • Variability of soil water regime and sources under different vegetation and in different climatic conditions
  • Time-varying hydraulic properties of soils and their influence on climate projections
  • Separation/Analysis of evapotranspiration components in forests
  • Impact of agricultural management on soil water retention and crop water supply
  • Impact of disturbances on the water regime of a territory
  • Importance of vegetation cover and spatial differences in soil moisture on runoff formation and response
  • Water circulation velocity during changes in the temporal distribution of precipitation