iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Comparative water balance study of forest and fallow plots

N Móricz (1)   , C Mátyás (1), I Berki (1), E Rasztovits (1), Z Vekerdy (3), Z Gribovszki (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 5, Issue 4, Pages 188-196 (2012)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0624-005
Published: Aug 02, 2012 - Copyright © 2012 SISEF

Research Articles

Increasing pressure on groundwater due to land use change (e.g., afforestation) and future climate change will alter the recharge of groundwater aquifers, causing shifts in water table levels and hence influencing the available groundwater resources. The effect of land use change on groundwater resources has initiated a major scientific debate during the last decades between foresters and experts in water management in Hungary and in several other countries. The aim of this study was to compare water balances of two different vegetation covers, a groundwater dependent oak forest and a nearby fallow area in the Hungarian Lowland. Water balance components for an oak and a fallow plots, exposed to similar weather conditions and with similar soils, were estimated and compared by calibrating the Hydrus 1-D model using measured soil water content and groundwater levels. The difference in the groundwater consumption was analyzed in details during dry and wet growing seasons. Transpiration at the fallow plot was only about two-thirds of that in the oak forest, while groundwater consumption was three times higher in the forest than at the fallow plot throughout the two-year study. During the dry growing season, the proportion of groundwater use from the total transpiration reached up to 90% at the oak plot. According to the model, in the dry growing season in 2007 both vegetation covers relied significantly on groundwater resources, while in 2008 the consumption of groundwater was notably reduced due to the wet weather at both plots.


Water Balance, Oak, Fallow, Groundwater Consumption

Authors’ address

N Móricz
C Mátyás
I Berki
E Rasztovits
Institute of Environmental and Earth Sciences, University of West Hungary, Sopron (Hungary)
Z Gribovszki
Institute of Geomatics and Civil Engineering, University of West Hungary, Sopron (Hungary)
Z Vekerdy
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede (The Netherlands)

Corresponding author

N Móricz


Móricz N, Mátyás C, Berki I, Rasztovits E, Vekerdy Z, Gribovszki Z (2012). Comparative water balance study of forest and fallow plots. iForest 5: 188-196. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0624-005

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Nov 19, 2011
Accepted: Jun 30, 2012

First online: Aug 02, 2012
Publication Date: Aug 29, 2012
Publication Time: 1.10 months

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