Applications of GIS-Based Hydrological Models in Mountain Areas in Bulgaria for Ecosystem Services Assessment: Issues and Advantages
- 461 Downloads
The application of hydrological models for the assessment of ecosystem services provides multiple opportunities for their quantitative analysis. Furthermore, Geographic Information System (GIS)-based models provide the possibility for spatially explicit analyses of model outputs and their representation in maps. A broadly applied and freely available hydrological model is the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The tool for its application in ArcGIS is ArcSWAT. The application of the model in mountain areas in Bulgaria can provide better understanding of the supply of ecosystem services and especially the water-related services, considering the large landscape diversity and climate differences within mountain watersheds. Still, data characteristics and limitations in Bulgaria can be restrictive for the quality of the model outputs.
ArcSWAT is created and actively supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consequently, the soil and land cover typologies and their respective lookup tables that are built into the model database are based on freely available USA datasets. The climate database integrated in the model is from stations throughout the United States and does not cover other countries, which makes the application of the model outside the United States more complicated.
For Bulgaria, the most detailed soil and land cover datasets use Bulgarian typologies, which have rarely been correlated to European or global types, and no correlation with US typologies have been found in the literature. Additionally, vegetation information within the different natural and semi-natural land cover classes is not freely available. The access to daily climate data is also limited, especially for solar radiation, relative humidity, and wind speed, which are harder to collect than temperature and precipitation.
In this study we show how the application of the SWAT hydrological model in mountain watersheds in Bulgaria is possible, even with the existent data limitations. The test watershed used for that purpose is the Upper Ogosta watershed. The benefits of running the model for understanding of the hydrological cycle and the supply of ecosystem services within the area are discussed, as well as the issues and restrictions resulting from data limitations.
KeywordsEcosystem services SWAT Data Mountain areas Bulgaria
The work for this study has been supported by the EU 7th Framework Program project SWAN (Sustainable Water ActioN; Grant agreement no: 294947), the “National, European, and Civilisational Dimensions of the Culture – Language – Media Dialogue” Programme of the “Alma Mater” University Complex for the Humanities at Sofia University “Saint Kliment Ohridski,” funded by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, Youth, and Science Scientific Research Fund, the joint Bulgarian-German Project “Ecosystem-based information system covering sensitive mountain areas in Bulgaria,” and the project ASCOR (Arsenic contamination of Ogosta River: Linking biogeochemical processes in floodplain soils with river system dynamics) of the Bulgarian–Swiss Research Programme.
- Arnold JG, Kiniry JR, Srinivasan R, Williams JR, Haney EB, Neitsch SL (2012) Soil and water assessment tool. Input/output documentation. Version 2012. Texas Water Resource Institute, College StationGoogle Scholar
- Boyanova K, Nedkov S, Burkhard B (2014) Quantification and mapping of flood regulating ecosystem services in different watersheds: case studies in Bulgaria and Arizona, USA. In: Bandrova T, Konecny M, Zlatanova S (eds) Thematic cartography for the society. Springer, New York, pp 237–255Google Scholar
- Burkhard B, Kroll F, Müller F, Windhors W (2009) Landscapes capacities to provide ecosystem services: a concept for land-cover based assessments. Landsc Online 15:1–22Google Scholar
- Döll P, Fiedler K (2007) Global-scale modeling of groundwater recharge. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 4:4069–4124. Available at: www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/4/4069/2007/ Google Scholar
- Hoekstra AY, Chapagain AK, Aldaya MM, Mekonnen MM (2011) The water footprint assessment manual: setting the global standard. Earthscan, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Neitsch SL, Arnold JG, Kiniry JR, Williams JR (2011) Soil and water assessment tool. Theoretical Doc. Version 2009. Technical report No 406. Texas Water Resources Institute, College StationGoogle Scholar
- Ninov N (2000) Taksonomichen spisak na pochvite v Balgaria spored swetownata klasificazia na FAO (Taxonomic list of soils in Bulgaria, according to the FAO world system). Probl Geogr 21:4–20 (in Bulgarian)Google Scholar
- Penkov M (1996) Pochvoznanie (Soil science). Agropress (in Bulgarian)Google Scholar
- Winchell M, Srinivasan R, Di Luzio M, Arnold J (2013) ArcSWAT interface for SWAT2012: user’s guide. Blackland Research and Extension Center, Texas Agrilife Research. Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, TexasGoogle Scholar