A water-table dependent reservoir model to investigate the effect of drought and vascular plant invasion on peatland hydrology.

Abstract : This paper investigates the water table dynamics in a peatland showing a wide range of water table fluctuations. A reservoir model of water table fluctuations in a double-porosity peat is proposed, by calculating the stored water in effective porosity of the peat from precipitation and evapotranspiration datasets. Calculations conceptualize vascular plant consumption through a crop coefficient. Changes in water storage, located in the effective porosity of the peat, are described through a maximum infiltration rate and a maximum storage capacity. Water discharges take place in runoff and percolation reservoirs. The runoff coefficient is considered to be water table dependent. This model was tested on a peatland that has experienced strong water table fluctuations caused by summer drought and/or by vascular plant water consumption. A water table dependent runoff model appeared to be adequate to describe the water table fluctuations in peatland. From this model, vascular plants were found to increase the crop coefficient and to limit percolation through the peat. The high water table depth in winter was found to change with the year and is related to an equilibrium between slow infiltration in peat versus percolation plus evapotranspiration. In this disturbed peatland, even if overland flows occurred after a drought, the re-saturation of effective porosity was slow with about 30% of air trapped in the porosity 6 months after the drought period. The effects of drought on peat saturation were observed over more than a single hydrological cycle. This can affect the biogeochemical processes controlling the C cycle in peatland.
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Stéphane Binet, Sébastien Gogo, Fatima Laggoun-Défarge. A water-table dependent reservoir model to investigate the effect of drought and vascular plant invasion on peatland hydrology.. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2013, 499, pp.132-139. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.06.035⟩. ⟨insu-00812402⟩

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