, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 528-538

Ground-water level, moisture supply, and vegetation in the Netherlands

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Abstract

The goal of this study was to establish quantitative relationships among vegetation, soil, and ground water that can be used in ecological modeling and engineering. To investigate these relationships, we used data from nature conservation areas in the Netherlands where phreatic ground-water levels had been measured in piezometers for at least five years. The species composition and soil composition of sites near these piezometers were described in detail. The data were used to investigate the relationship between the occurrence of hydrophytes and xerophytes versus average ground-water levels and moisture supply. We found that the distinction between sites dominated by hydrophytes and sites dominated by mesophytes coincides with a mean spring ground-water level of 20–30 cm below surface. Dry sites, dominated by xerophytes, can be defined as sites where under grassland cover moisture deficits will be more than 10 mm in an average year.