Groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration for two natural ecosystems covered with oak and heather

U.L. Ladekarl, K.R. Rasmussen, S. Christensen, K.H. Jensen, B. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge from two natural areas with high (oak) and low (heath) vegetation were estimated by calibrating a semi-physical numerical soil water and heat model to fit 8 and 7 years of TDR-measurements of water content, respectively. The measurements were made between the surface and 7 m depth. For the oak stand, the estimated annual recharge for the years 1992-1999 is 390 mm, the evaporation from soil and interception is 205 mm, and the transpiration is 285 mm. For the heath area estimation was carried out for the years 1993-1999. However, the heath was struck by a heavy beetle attack in 1994, which strongly affected the vegetation and thus the water balance for the following 3 years. For years not affected, the estimated recharge is 733 mm (about 50% larger than for the oak stand for the same years), the evaporation is 316 mm, and the transpiration is 128 mm. The estimated recharge values compare fairly well to estimates obtained from bromide tracer experiments. However, the recharge estimates obtained from the tracer experiments are very uncertain. The uncertainty is mainly due to spatial heterogeneity making the three replicate samples taken here for each time and depth insufficient. The analyses of TDR-measurements and tracer data showed that water front movement depends on the antecedent soil water content. Some layers are bypassed, especially at low water contents, and at high soil water contents preferential flow was observed at the heath site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-99
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Recharge
  • TDR
  • Tracer
  • Water balance

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


Dive into the research topics of 'Groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration for two natural ecosystems covered with oak and heather'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this