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Title: Analysis of observed soil moisture patterns under different land covers in Western Ghats, India
Authors: Venkatesh, B.
Nandagiri, Lakshman
Purandara, B.K.
Reddy, V.B.
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Journal of Hydrology, 2011, Vol.397, 43924, pp.281-294
Abstract: An understanding of the soil moisture variability is necessary to characterize the linkages between a region's hydrology, ecology and physiography. In the changing land use scenario of Western Ghats, India, where deforestation along with extensive afforestation with exotic species is being undertaken, there is an urgent need to evaluate the impacts of these changes on regional hydrology. The objectives of the present study were: (a) to understand spatio-temporal variability of soil water potential and soil moisture content under different land covers in the humid tropical Western Ghats region and (b) to evaluate differences if any in spatial and temporal patterns of soil moisture content as influenced by nature of land cover. To this end, experimental watersheds located in the Western Ghats of Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka State, India, were established for monitoring of soil moisture. These watersheds possessed homogenous land covers of acacia plantation, natural forest and degraded forest. In addition to the measurements of hydro-meteorological parameters, soil matric potential measurements were made at four locations in each watershed at 50 cm, 100 cm and 150 cm depths at weekly time intervals during the period October 2004-December 2008.Soil moisture contents derived from potential measurements collected were analyzed to characterize the spatial and temporal variations across the three land covers. The results of ANOVA (p<0.01, LSD) test indicated that there was no significant change in the mean soil moisture across land covers. However, significant differences in soil moisture with depth were observed under forested watershed, whereas no such changes with depth were noticed under acacia and degraded land covers. Also, relationships between soil moisture at different depths were evaluated using correlation analysis and multiple linear regression models for prediction of soil moisture from climatic variables and antecedent moisture condition were developed and tested. A regression model relating near-surface soil moisture (50 cm) with profile soil moisture content was developed which may prove useful when surface soil moisture contents derived from satellite remote sensing are available. Overall results of this study indicate that while the nature of land cover has an influence on the spatio-temporal variability of soil moisture, other variables related to topography may have a more dominant effect. 2010 Elsevier B.V.
URI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.12.006
Appears in Collections:1. Journal Articles

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