Removing woody vegetation has little effect on conduit flow recharge
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In drylands across the globe, grasslands and savannas have succumbed to encroachment by woody plants. There is a concern that, in some cases, these changes may lead to lower groundwater recharge and streamflow. In karst landscapes, the effect of woody plants on recharge is difficult to determine because of the shallow and rocky soils. In our study, we estimated the amount of water entering a shallow cave (3-5m deep) as a surrogate measurement for groundwater recharge, to evaluate whether the removal of Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) above the cave would affect recharge. Three sets of large-scale rainfall simulations were conducted in 2005, before removal of the overstory juniper; seven were conducted in 2008, soon after the juniper were removed; and two were conducted in 2009, one year after juniper removal. We found that recharge occurred mainly via conduits or macropores and, as such, was extremely dynamic and responsive to rainfall. The amount of recharge ranged from 3% to 17% of the water applied, the higher percentages being measured when antecedent soil conditions were wet. At least in this case of recharge taking place via conduit flow, removal of the juniper had little if any effect. 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
author list (cited authors)
Bazan, R. A., Wilcox, B. P., Munster, C., & Gary, M.
complete list of authors
Bazan, Roberto A||Wilcox, Bradford P||Munster, Clyde||Gary, Marcus