Critical Zone Hydrology Group





L.A. Bruijnzeel

P.J. Stuyfzand

H. Kooi

M.J. Waterloo

B.M. van Breukelen

H.J. van Meerveld

J. Groen

M.M.A. Groen

H.P. Broers

J. Schellekens

PhDs and post-docs

Visiting fellows

Technical staff

Valorisation and services

Photo gallery


Juan Carlos Rosito

Position: PhD student

Universidad Rafael Landivar de Guatemala
Instituto de Agricultura, Recursos Naturales y Ambiente (IARNA)
Guatemala City

Ecohydrological processes along a leeward altitudinal gradient in the Sierra de las Minas, Guatemala

Supervisors and collaborators:

Duration: 2009-2016
Funding: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and IARNA

Research questions

The Sierra de Las Minas Biosphere Reserve (RBSM) in eastern Guatemala contains ca. 60% of Guatemala's remaining cloud forest and is home to at least 885 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The mountain range runs more or less parallel to the prevailing trade-winds (NE), with altitudes ranging from 150 m to more than 3000 m asl. As a result, there is a pronounced climatic gradient, particularly on the drier southern, leeward side, where dry forest at low elevations gives way to mixed oak-pine formations at intermediate elevations, followed by montane cloud forests above 2000 m. A total of 63 rivers originate in the Reserve providing water to the adjacent Polochic and Motagua valleys. In support of a regional (Fondo del Agua) and several local 'payment for environmental services' (PES) schemes aiming to preserve the (cloud) forest, spatially discrete data are required on the ecohydrological functioning and relative importance of the respective vegetation zones. This leads to the following key research questions: