Water Infiltration and Hydraulic Conductivity in Sandy Cambisols: impacts of forest transformation on soil hydrological properties

Oliver Bens, Niels Arne Wahl, Holger Fischer, Reinhard F. Hüttl

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

    43 Citationer (Scopus)


    Soil hydrological properties like infiltration capacity and hydraulic conductivity have important consequences for hydrological properties of soils in river catchments and for flood risk prevention. They are dynamic properties due to varying land use management practices. The objective of this study was to characterize the variation of infiltration capacity, hydraulic conductivity and soil organoprofile development on forest sites with comparable geological substrate, soil type and climatic conditions, but different stand ages and tree species in terms of the effects of forest transformation upon soil hydrological properties. The Kahlenberg forest area (50 km northeast of Berlin in the German northeastern lowlands) under investigation contains stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica) of different age structures forming a transformation chronosequence from pure Scots pine stands towards pure European beech stands. The water infiltration capacity and hydraulic conductivity (K) of the investigated sandy-textured soils are low and very few macropores exist. Additionally these pores are marked by poor connectivity and therefore do not have any significant effect on water infiltration rate. Moreover, water infiltration in these soils is impeded by their hydrophobic properties. Along the experimental chronosequence of forest transformation, the thickness of the forest floor layer decreases due to enhanced decomposition and humification intensities. By contrast, the thickness of the humous topsoil increases. Presumably, changes in soil organic matter storage and quality caused by the management practice of forest transformation affect the persistence and degree of water repellency in the soil, which in turn influences the hydraulic properties of the experimental soils. The results indicate clearly that soils play a crucial role for water retention and therefore, in overland flow prevention. There is a need to have more awareness on the intimate link between the land use and soil properties and their possible effects on flooding.
    TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Forest Research (Print Edition)
    Udgave nummer1
    Sider (fra-til)101-109
    StatusUdgivet - 29 jun. 2006


    • Forrest Transformation
    • Soil Hydrology
    • Hydraulic Conductivity
    • Infiltration Capacity
    • Cambisol

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