Award for presentation by Eliza Placzkowska at hydrology conference
This June, the 18th Conference of the Euromediterranean Network of Experimental and Representative Basins took place in Italy. We congratulate Eliza Placzkowska, visiting scientist at the Physical Geography and Climatology Group, for winning a prize for her presentation on unexpected changes in ionic composition of stream water in a small headwater catchment after partial deforestation!
The topic of this year's conference, taking place on the island Elba in Italy, were hydrological and ecohydrological processes in small natural and human-impacted catchments. The main goal was to exchange new techniques and results concerning the experimental investigation and analysis of representative catchments.
Eliza Placzkowska carried out research in the Wüstebach catchment located in the Eifel mountains. In the year 2013, about 22% of the main catchment area was deforested to promote the regeneration of near-natural beech forest
as opposed to the pre-existing spruce forest. In comparison to a different, fully forested catchment, there were changes in the chemical composition of the stream water which persisted until the end of the study period, 7 years after deforestation. The stream water's electrical conductivity significantly decreased, which was connected to a decrease in the concentration of base cations. On the other hand, the percentage of NO3 - and HCO3 - increased significantly.
These results are in contrast to other experimental catchments where deforestation has been carried out, e.g. in the USA, and are therefore likely to better reflect the effects of the natural extinction of spruce forests associated with droughts in the Eifel region.