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Title: Modelling soil moisture under different land covers in a sub-humid environment of Western Ghats, India
Authors: Venkatesh, B.
Nandagiri, Lakshman
Purandara, B.K.
Reddy, V.B.
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Journal of Earth System Science, 2011, Vol.120, 3, pp.387-398
Abstract: The objective of this study is to apply and test a simple parametric water balance model for prediction of soil moisture regime in the presence of vegetation. The intention was to evaluate the differences in model parameterization and performance when applied to small watersheds under three different types of land covers (Acacia, degraded forest and natural forest). The watersheds selected for this purpose are located in the sub-humid climate within the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India. Model calibration and validation were performed using a dataset comprising depth-averaged soil moisture content measurements made at weekly time steps from October 2004 to December 2008. In addition to this, a sensitivity analysis was carried out with respect to the water-holding capacity of the soils with the aim of explaining the suitability and adaptation of exotic vegetation types under the prevailing climatic conditions. Results indicated reasonably good performance of the model in simulating the pattern and magnitude of weekly average soil moisture content in 150 cm deep soil layer under all three land covers. This study demonstrates that a simple, robust and parametrically parsimonious model is capable of simulating the temporal dynamics of soil moisture content under distinctly different land covers. Also, results of sensitivity analysis revealed that exotic plant species such as Acacia have adapted themselves effectively to the local climate. Indian Academy of Sciences.
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