Deliverable 4.20

Abstract: Protocols to examine the extreme flood and drought events in Spain

The Spanish riparian site (Riera de Arbucies) selected to conduct the experimental flood and drought manipulations in Work package 4, experienced an extreme flood episode in 2011 and an extreme drought episode in 2012. This occurred during the experimental period were planned. Given the opportunity provided by these exceptional natural conditions, the experimental design was revised to focus on monitoring the natural changes in the riparian zone associated with these naturally occurring extreme events. Following heavy rain and a the subsequent extreme flood (ca. 50 years recurrence) in spring 2011, hydrological and morphological conditions in the riparian zone changed. Water occupied most of the riparian zone soil, altering saturation and biogeochemistry as well as distribution of aquatic and terrestrial plants. At the same time, during the flood event, huge amounts of sediments were deposited along the riparian zone, covering existing plants with sand and establishing new conditions for plant colonization. After a lengthy spring drought in 2012, the groundwater level and soil humidity significantly decreased. We expected that these contrasting spring conditions clearly affect the interannual variation in soil biogeochemistry and plant development in the riparian zone of the study site.

The aims of this protocol are to propose measurements to follow the changes in the groundwater level and chemistry, soil gas emissions and development and recovery of plants in the riparian zone under these hydrologically contrasted conditions. For this purpose we conducted the following measurements in the riparian zone;

i) Groundwater Table Level

ii) Groundwater Chemistry

iii) Seeds on Sediments

iv) Plant Recovery and growth

v) Soil gas emissions (N2O and CO2)

These procedures aim to evaluate the effects of natural extreme hydrological events (floods and droughts) on the primary production and biogeochemistry of the riparian zone.

This is an internal project deliverable which specifies the protocols fro monitoring the effects of these events on the Riera de Arbucies experimental site. These protocols will enter the public domain when the results are published.


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