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Stabilising and destabilising effects of vegetation on soil water under climate change


Britta Tietjenin cooperation with the Dryland Ecohydrology Group of USGS


Climate change leads to changes in water fluxes such as infiltration, evapotranspiration and runoff. These processes are also closely related to the present vegetation cover and composition, since different plants exert different impacts on hydrological processes and thus water availiability. If water availability changes as a result of climate change, this impacts also vegetation composition and cover, since plants are differently adapted to water stress. Climate change therefore leads to a direct and indirect impacts on soil moisture. With the ecohydrological model SOILWAT, we analyse whether climate change induced shifts in vegetation cover stabilize or destabilze soil moisture in drylands.