Porporato_Rodriguez-Iturbe_2002 - Hydrological...

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Hydrological Scienees-Journal-des Sciences Hydrologiques. 47(5 ) October 2002 8 [ | Ecohydrology—a challenging multidisciplinary research perspective AMILCARE PORPORATO Department of Hydraulics. Transport and Civil Infrastructures. Polytechnic of Turin, Corso Duea degli Ahruzzi 24. 1-10129 Turin. Italy [email protected] IGNACIO RODRIGUEZ-ITURBE Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University. Princeton. New Jersey 08544. USA Abstract Ecohydrology is the science that studies the mutual interaction between the hydrological cycle and ecosystems. Such an interaction is especially intense in water- controlled ecosystems, where water may be a limiting factor, not only because of its scarcity, but also because of its intermittent and unpredictable appearance. Soil moisture is the key variable modulating the complex dynamics of the climate-soil- vegetation system and controlling the spatial and temporal patterns of vegetation. In this note the authors' perspective to the field is discussed and some open questions are outlined. Key words ecohydrology; climate—soil—vegetation; ecosystems; system dynamics; disturbances; scale problems Ecohydrologie: une perspective stimulante de recherche multidisciplinaire Résumé L'écohydrologie est la science qui étudie l'interaction mutuelle entre le cycle hydrologique et les écosystèmes. Cette interaction est particulièrement intense dans les écosystèmes contrôlés par l'eau, où l'eau peut être un facteur limitant, non seulement en raison de sa rareté mais aussi à cause de sa disponibilité intermittente et imprévisible. L'humidité du sol est la variable clef dans la modulation des dynamiques complexes du système climat-sol-végétation et dans le contrôle des répartitions spatiales et temporelles de la végétation. Les auteurs discutent dans cet article de leurs perspectives dans le domaine et abordent quelques questions ouvertes. Mots clefs écohydrologie; climat-sol-végétation; écosystèmes; dynamiques systémiques; perturbations; problèmes d'échelle INTRODUCTION Ecohydrology is the science that studies the mutual interaction between the hydro- logical cycle and ecosystems. It is a fast-growing science that is expected to explain important problems related to natural processes and provide engineering solutions with reduced environmental impact. In particular, the understanding of the basic processes of ecohydrology will, it is hoped, lead to the development of the necessary tools for a sustainable use of the water resources. The area of interest of ecohydrology is so vast and manifold (e.g. Kundzewicz, 2002, and references therein), that the initial approach must necessarily focus on the most important components of the system. In this perspective, soil moisture and plants are undoubtedly the two main subjects of ecohydrology, the former being at the heart of the hydrological cycle and the latter representing the main component of terrestrial eco- Open for discussion until I April 2003
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course FOR 6934 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Florida.

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Porporato_Rodriguez-Iturbe_2002 - Hydrological...

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