Despite decades of research, a comprehensive understanding of the linkages between carbon and water relationships in forested ecosystems has remained elusive. Most of the available data come from small experimental catchments in the temperate zone, and are as such not representative of the diversity of soil, vegetation and historical conditions in tropical landscapes, such as the Western Ghats in India. Given that these tropical regions support a large fraction of the human population and are subject to intense anthropogenic pressures, there is an urgent need to understand and predict the hydrological and carbon consequences of land-use and climate change in these dynamic landscapes.
In this field based project, we've set up gauging stations two basins in the southern Western Ghats. A nested approach is being followed through which the discharge of low order streams (2 to 5) is being measured along with rainfall and other climatic parameters in their catchments. We're collecting our final months of data, our third monsoon, which will feed into models and analysis. We hope to uncover some of the relationships between land cover and discharge (quality, quantity and duration), impacts of moisture on soil respiration and carbon storage and the link between discharge and sediment/nutrient transport in ralation to land cover types.
The main objectives of the project are: