EGU21-3614, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Tree species from Andean forest are complementary in their effect on ecohydrological processes

Laura V. Cano-Arboleda1, Juan Camilo Villegas2, Aura Cristina Restrepo3, Elizabeth Ocampo-Montoya4, and Estela Quintero-Vallejo5
Laura V. Cano-Arboleda et al.
  • 1Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia (
  • 2Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia (
  • 3Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia ( )
  • 4Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia ( )
  • 5Facultad de Ciencias y Biotecnología, Universidad CES, Medellín, Colombia (

Vegetation affects water balance partitioning via effects on incoming precipitation, local radiation balance and hydrological dynamics of soil. The extent of these effects is determined by plant functional traits. Commonly, the role of plant species on hydrological regulation has been assessed considering vegetation as homogeneous cover, even more, that approach underestimates the importance of species in this process. Nevertheless, in recent years, new focus has been placed on species study based on their functional traits and their roles in ecosystem functions as hydrological regulation. Still new tendencies are considering vegetation cover consisting of different species, each of them having different effects on hydrological regulation because they have different functional traits. In an 8-year old ecosystem restoration project established in Medellín (Colombia), we explored the relations between plant functional traits of 10 dominant species and ecohydrological processes that determine precipitation partitioning in the canopy via stemflow and throughfall. Here we show that functional traits describing tree crowns are significantly related with stemflow and throughfall. Our species exhibit differences in their functional traits and ecohydrological processes, forming a gradient of variation of ecohydrological processes and crown functional traits: from wide and less dense crowns in Alnus acuminata to smaller but more dense crowns in Quercus humboldtii, related with less throughfall temporal variability, and less stemflow temporal variability, respectively; the other species are placed along this gradient. This result suggests a complementary effect of species on the hydrological processes and consequently on the hydrological function, highlighting the importance of considering species diversity on hydrological regulation assessment. More specifically, our results emphasize the need to include information about the effects of species planted in ecological restoration projects over ecohydrological processes, via ecological criteria such as plant functional traits. This approach permits a more objective and complete study of hydrological regulation that brings key information for an adequate ecosystem management and restoration based on ecological roles of species that, through biological diversity, optimize ecosystem functions and services.

How to cite: Cano-Arboleda, L. V., Villegas, J. C., Restrepo, A. C., Ocampo-Montoya, E., and Quintero-Vallejo, E.: Tree species from Andean forest are complementary in their effect on ecohydrological processes, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3614,, 2021.


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