King's College, London

Critical Zone Hydrology Group



Global change impacts

Permafrost hydrology
Flood forecasting
Cloud forest hydrology
Tropical deforestation

Sustainable aquifer use



Valorisation and services

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Influence of land cover on the hydrological response of headwater catchents in the Central Andes of Colombia

Researcher: Guillermo Vásquez Velásquez
Current affiliation: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Depto de Ciencias Forestales


Duration: 2012-2016
Funding: Smurfit Kappa Cartón de Colombia S.A.; Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín; VU University

Key research questions / background

Large tracts of montane rain forests and cloud forests in the Central Andes of Colombia have been transformed to grasslands whose top-soils over the years have been subject to degradation and compaction. The hydrological impacts of this degradation at the catchment scale are poorly known. To meet the country's growing demands for timber and pulp, pasture land is being converted to fast-growing tree plantations (mostly eucalypts); the hydrological impacts of which are as yet undocumented. To fill this important gap in regional hydrological knowledge, this project aims to quantify the hydrological response of small headwater basins under more or less undisturbed lower montane rain forest, long-term pasture, and eucalypt plantation near Santa Rosa de Cabal, Rosa de Cabal, in the Western part of the Central Cordillera of Colombia. The selected catchments have similar size, orientation, altitudinal range and geological substrate. Apart from a survey of soil physical conditions, hillslope- and catchment runoff response to rainfall will be studied under the respective land-cover types using stable isotope and chemical end member analytical techniques to elucidate runoff contributions from different sources. Future work on plantation water use (rainfall interception and transpiration) is envisaged as well.

Project publications

Last modified: Wed Dec 30 13:10:38 CET 2015