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Assessing Soil Moisture and Hydraulic Properties Associated with Tree Density Across Various Land use System in Western Ghats of Karnataka


Assessing Soil Moisture and Hydraulic Properties Associated with Tree Density Across Various Land use System in Western Ghats of Karnataka
Authors : Veerabaswant Reddy, Chandrakantha. G, Purandara B. K, Venkatesh. B
Publication Date: 31-08-2016

Authors

Author(s):  Veerabaswant Reddy, Chandrakantha. G, Purandara B. K, Venkatesh. B

Published in:   International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology

License:  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Website: www.ijert.org

Volume/Issue:   Volume. 5 - Issue. 09 , September - 2016

e-ISSN:   2278-0181

 DOI:  http://dx.doi.org/10.17577/IJERTV5IS090003

Abstract

Among various hydrological components, soil moisture and hydraulic properties are the two important factors which significantly influence vegetation density and soil moisture characteristics. Therefore, a clear knowledge of soil moisture pattern and hydraulic properties associated with tree density across various land use system is essential. Hence, a study was conducted in Areangadi region of Honnavara taluk (Uttara kannada, Karnataka) to understand the soil moisture profile and hydraulic properties under various land use/land covers with particular reference to vegetation density. Vegetation density per hector was highest in natural forest and this was reduced up to 50.11 and 50.55 percent in Acacia auriculiformis (Acacia) plantation and 88.05 and 88.84 percent in degraded forest during 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. Soil moisture variation across various soil depths under different land use system shows that there is an increase in moisture contents both in acacia plantation and degraded forests, whereas in the natural forests, it shows a decline up to a depth of 90 cm and an increase further down (to a depth of 150 cm). It is also noticed that, beyond 190 cm depth, soil moisture in all three land covers remained relatively stable. The study revealed that the variation in soil moisture content depends not only on rainfall pattern and intensity, but also on the tree species and density. Among various land use system, average soil moisture was highest (22%) in natural forest followed by acacia plantation (20%) and degraded forest (19%). Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) with depth is decreasing from surface to 1.5 m in all three land covers (Forest, Acacia plantation and degraded forest). However, it is observed that, particularly in forest and plantations there are instances of high rate of hydraulic conductivity at the surface layer, followed by considerable reduction up to 0.45 m depth and become steady thereafter. Further, the present study illustrates that vegetation density has considerable impact on soil hydraulic properties (Ks) and found positively correlated with type of vegetation. Average soil hydraulic property (Ks) was found highest (119 mm/hr) in natural forest followed by acacia plantation (75 mm/hr) and minimum of 18.39 mm/hr was observed in degraded forest.

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