Throughfall Erosivity in Relation to Drop Size and Crown Position: A Case Study from a Teak Plantation in Thailand

  • K. NankoEmail author
  • N. Tanaka
  • M. Leuchner
  • D. F. Levia
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 240)


Throughfall erosivity is necessary for the prediction of soil erosion in some forests with little protective ground cover. Throughfall drops and erosivity were compared with open rainfall and at four different crown positions beneath the canopy in a teak plantation in Thailand. Throughfall was partitioned into free throughfall, splash throughfall, and canopy drip using drop size distributions of both open rainfall and throughfall. Compared with open rainfall, (1) throughfall drops were lower in number but larger in size due to the coalescence of raindrops on canopies; (2) throughfall drops, especially canopy drip, had lower velocity due to insufficient fall distance from the canopy to the forest floor to reach terminal velocity, which partly depends on crown base height and the vertical distribution of foliage; and (3) throughfall usually had higher kinetic energy due to larger drop size, which depends on the amount of canopy drip and the crown base height. Throughfall kinetic energy was higher in mid-crown positions than in the gap or near-stem positions. Compared to mid-crown positions, the gap position had smaller drops and less canopy drip, while the near-stem position had lower drop fall velocity. The erosivity of throughfall with respect to crown position is useful to better understand canopy–water–soil interactions, develop high-resolution maps of potential soil erosion risk, and help maintain forest productivity.



The work was funded by JSPS KAKENHI Grant numbers JP17780119, JP15H05626, and JP17KK0159 and the CREST Program of JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Nanko
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. Tanaka
    • 2
  • M. Leuchner
    • 3
  • D. F. Levia
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Disaster Prevention, Meteorology and HydrologyForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Ecohydrology Research Institute, The University of Tokyo Forests, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoSetoJapan
  3. 3.Physical Geography and ClimatologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  4. 4.Departments of Geography and Plant & Soil SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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