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Title: Soil water fluxes under different land covers - A case study from Western Ghats, India
Authors: Venkatesh, B.
Nandagiri, Lakshman
Purandara, B.K.
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering, 2011, Vol.4, 2, pp.268-278
Abstract: Knowledge of soil water fluxes is essential in hydrologic studies related to infiltration, runoff, ground water recharge and water uptake by vegetation. Previous studies have investigated the role played by soil and atmospheric factors on soil water fluxes in the unsaturated zone, but few studies have investigated the role played by vegetation or land cover. The present study was taken up understand the effect of land cover on soil water fluxes through long-term field measurements made in three experimental watersheds located in Western Ghats mountain ranges covering a portion of Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka State, India. Soil and climatic conditions were the same for the selected watersheds but they possessed different land covers - natural forest, degraded forest and acacia plantation. In addition to measurements of hydro-meteorological parameters, soil matric potential measurements were made at 4 locations in each of the watersheds up to a depth of 150 cm at an interval of 50 cm. Measurements were made for a period of 2 years (2007-2008) at weekly time intervals Depth-wise soil matric potential measurements were used to estimate soil water fluxes using Darcy's equation for unsaturated porous media. The estimated values of soil water fluxes were analyzed for their temporal distribution and stability. Results indicated that there is an improvement in soil moisture holding under the acacia plantation in comparison to degraded watershed. The estimated deviation of the soil water flux from the field average values indicate that the points located on milder slopes are representative of watershed mean soil water flux. Results also indicated the temporal persistence of soil water fluxes. 2011 CAFET-INNOVA technical society. All right reserved.
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