Modeling stand water budgets of mixed temperate broad-leaved forest stands by considering variations in species specific drought response

Sebastian Bittner, Ulrike Talkner, Inga Krämer, Friedrich Beese, Dirk Hölscher, Eckart Priesack

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32 Scopus citations


This modeling study used recent observations at a temperate broad-leaved forest in Central Germany to calculate water balances of a Fagus sylvatica monoculture and mixed stands of F. sylvatica, Tilia spp., Acer spp., Carpinus betulus, Fraxinus excelsior and Quercus robur. To simulate soil water flow the modeling framework Expert-N was applied which combines models that describe the physiological and hydrological processes of the plant-soil system including models of evapotranspiration (Penman-Monteith equation), interception (revised Gash model) and soil water flow (Richards equation). Measurements of rainfall partitioning, volumetric soil water content, evapotranspiration and tree transpiration provided reliable data for the parameterization and the calibration of the model for three stands of different diversity levels. They allowed to include species specific physiological (transpiration rates, response to dry soil water conditions) and structural (leaf area dynamics) characteristics. During the 3-year long observation period 2005-2007 the mean yearly precipitation was 652. mm, the simulated mean yearly interception loss of the three observed forest stands was between 219 and 272. mm, the transpiration accounted for 197-225. mm, the forest floor evaporation for 96-104. mm, the drainage for 16-60. mm and the runoff for 13-50. mm. The calculations of the water balance were sensitive to the species composition of the forest and showed differences of rainfall interception and root water uptake between the stands. The applied stand-level model was able to simulate the water dynamics of the monospecific and mixed forest stands. It was shown that differences in drought tolerance of tree species can have a strong impact on the simulated soil water extraction during periods when available soil water is low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1357
Number of pages11
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Fagus sylvatica
  • Gash interception model
  • Mixed stand
  • Root water uptake
  • Water balances


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