Special Issue "Ecohydrologic Feedbacks Between Vegetation, Soil, and Climate"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. C. Jason Williams
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Southwest Watershed Research Center, Tucson, AZ, 85719, USA
Fax: +1 520 670 5550
Interests: ecohydrology, erosion, fire effects, plant community dynamics, wildland hydrology
Assit. Prof. Kossi Nouwakpo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV, 89557, USA
Interests: soil physics, soil erosion, land degradation and water quality, surface and subsurface hydrology, environmental sensing and monitoring, soil quality and environmental sustainability, modeling and computational tools in soil erosion and hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Patchy attributes of water-limited lands provide unique landscapes for studying the dynamic interaction of structural and functional connectivity that governs hillslope hydrologic and erosion processes. For example, runoff and erosion from well-vegetated landscapes are low due to spatial heterogeneity in infiltration, runoff, and sediment detachment/deposition. Isolated bare patches are sources for runoff and soil detachment by rainsplash and sheetflow. Vegetated patches and ground cover intercept rainfall and overland flow, promote infiltration and sediment and nutrient retention, and protect the soil surface from raindrops and detachment by flow. Plant community degradation often increases runoff and soil loss through the fragmentation of the vegetation and ground cover patch-structure. Such increases in structural and functional connectivity (e.g., woody plant encroachment) often propagate long-term site degradation and are difficult to reverse. Disturbances (e.g., fire, drought) can potentially serve as ecohydrologic threshold reversal mechanisms by which the vegetation structure and ecohydrologic function are reset through ensuing plant community and ecohydrologic dynamics. This Special Issue aims to explore such unique relationships for water-limited landscapes around the globe. We seek papers that examine key ecohydrologic feedbacks between vegetation, soil, and climate and are particularly interested in how such relationships are affected by disturbances, immediate or transitional.

Dr. C. Jason Williams
Assit. Prof. Kossi Nouwakpo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ecohydrology
  • disturbance
  • erosion
  • fire
  • drought
  • drylands
  • rangelands
  • runoff
  • woodlands
  • woody plant encroachment

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Soil Water Content Estimation Using High-Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar
Water 2019, 11(5), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051036 - 17 May 2019
Abstract
The rapid high-precision and nondestructive determination of shallow soil water content (SWC) is of vital importance to precision agriculture and water resource management. However, the low-frequency ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology currently in use is insufficient for precisely determining the shallow SWC. Therefore, [...] Read more.
The rapid high-precision and nondestructive determination of shallow soil water content (SWC) is of vital importance to precision agriculture and water resource management. However, the low-frequency ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology currently in use is insufficient for precisely determining the shallow SWC. Therefore, it is essential to develop and use a high-precision detection technology to determine SWC. In this paper, a laboratory study was conducted to evaluate the use of a high-frequency GPR antenna to determine the SWC of loamy sand, clay, and silty loam. We collected soil samples (0–20 cm) of six soil types of loamy sand, clay, and silty loam and used a high-frequency (2-GHz) GPR antenna to determine the SWC. In addition, we obtained GPR data and images as well as characteristic parameters of the electromagnetic spectrum and analyzed the quantitative relationship with SWC. The GPR reflection two-way travel times and the known depths of reflectors were used to calculate the average soil dielectric permittivities above the reflectors and establish a spatial relationship between the soil dielectric permittivity ( ε ) and SWC ( θ ), which was used to estimate the depth-averaged SWC. The results show that the SWC, which affects the attenuation of wave energy and the wave velocity of the GPR signal, is a dominant factor affecting the soil dielectric permittivity. In addition, the conductivity, magnetic soil, soil texture, soil organic matter, and soil temperature have substantial effects on the soil dielectric permittivity, which consequentially affects the prediction of SWC. The correlation coefficients R2 of the θ   ~   ε cubic curve models, which were used to fit the relationships between the soil dielectric permittivity ( ε ) and SWC ( θ ), were greater than 0.89, and the root-mean-square errors were less than 2.9%, which demonstrate that high-frequency GPR technology can be applied to determine shallow SWC under variable hydrological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecohydrologic Feedbacks Between Vegetation, Soil, and Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Failure and Collapse of Ancient Agricultural Stone Terraces: On-Site Effects on Soil and Vegetation
Water 2018, 10(10), 1400; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101400 - 09 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Ancient agricultural stone terraces, dated to the Roman and Byzantine ages, are prevalent across the Negev drylands of Southern Israel. The goal of these structures was to reduce hydrological connectivity by harvesting water runoff and controlling soil erosion, thus allowing cultivation of cereals. [...] Read more.
Ancient agricultural stone terraces, dated to the Roman and Byzantine ages, are prevalent across the Negev drylands of Southern Israel. The goal of these structures was to reduce hydrological connectivity by harvesting water runoff and controlling soil erosion, thus allowing cultivation of cereals. Land abandonment and the lack of maintenance have led to the failure and collapse of many of these stone terraces. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of failure and collapse of terraces on the on-site (on-field) geo-ecosystem functioning, as determined by vegetation cover and soil quality parameters. This was achieved by studying vegetal and soil properties in shrubby vegetation patches and inter-shrub spaces of intact-terrace plots and collapsed-terrace plots, as well as in the surrounding ‘natural’ lands. Mean cover of both shrubby and herbaceous vegetation was highest in intact terraces, intermediate in ‘natural’ lands, and lowest in collapsed terraces. The overall soil quality followed the same trend as the vegetation cover. Additionally, this study shows that the anthropogenic impact on geo-ecosystem functioning can be either beneficial or detrimental. While well maintained stone terraces benefit the soil and vegetation, abandoned and unmaintained terraces may result in accelerated soil erosion and land degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecohydrologic Feedbacks Between Vegetation, Soil, and Climate)
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