Wetlands have an important ecological and economic function as water resource and regulation areas. However, this function is very fragile for human interference. Land use changes and climate change may have a large impact on the hydrological processes occ urring in wetland soils. This proposal aims at a description of the changes in soil structure and hydraulic properties in wetland soils triggered by human interference. Both an experimental and a modelling approach are foreseen. In a first phase, field exp eriments will be set up for a quantitative description of the hydraulic properties of wetland soils and the impact of human interference. Laboratory experiments are planned to assess the impact of changing environmental conditions such as temperature and m oisture conditions on the soil hydraulic properties. Based on these data, algorithms will be developed that accurately describe the observed processes. Using data from hill slope scale experiments and runoff measurements, these processes are upscaled from pedon scale to a fully functional hydrological model. Modelling hydrological processes in wetland soils is particularly challenging, as many classical soil-water interaction concepts cannot be applied. Swell and shrink properties, preferential flow paths a nd non-Darcian flow occur much more regularly than in mineral soils. As a result, non-rigid soil theories have to be incorporated in the hydrological model. Finally, the developed model will be used to carry out a scenario analysis which assesses the impac t of future changes in climate and land use on the hydrology of wetlands. The results of this analysis are indispensable for future sustainable wetlands management. The study also has a strong interdisciplinary aspect, combining soil physics with advanced computational techniques, geographical information systems and land management. As a result, it is necessary to establish a strong and multidisciplinary research network.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call