Journal article Open Access
Land use types and practices significantly influence hydrological properties. The hydrological properties like interception, infiltration, soil moisture and evapotranspiration varies with vegetation cover, topography, climatic conditions and soil properties. These properties don’t have exact value for all areas i.e. they can have different values under same vegetation cover. The purpose of the study was to understand the effects of forest and rangeland/grasslands on various hydrological properties like interception, evapotranspiration, infiltration, soil moisture and ground water recharge. Interception and evapotranspiration were higher from woody vegetation due to aerodynamics roughness of trees in promoting increased evaporation in wet condition that the rate of evapotranspiration losses from forests and grassland were 1400 ± 100 mm yr−1 and 950 ± 50 mm yr−1 respectively. Soil moisture was found higher in area with small bulk density and higher abundance of pore spaces that some studies found moisture under grassland twice that under forest and some found higher moisture on forest with good management practices than in grassland. Ground water was found increased when forests were converted to rangelands; groundwater recharge would increase by 7.8 ± 12.6%. Well managed forest land with coarse medium texture soil has higher infiltration capacity than grassland and bare ground. Study found mean cumulative infiltration 33.47 cm in forest and 8.4 cm in grassland. Different vegetation structure and their management practices impacts soil, climate and water cycle differently. So, it is very important to understand which vegetation type can be used in particular area. This study will help to understand the hydrological influence of woody and herbaceous plants and helps in practicing better land use practice in water related disaster vulnerable areas.