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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Research Project #445657

Research Project: Developing Ecophysiological Components for Post-Fire Hydrologic Models

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Project Number: 3012-13660-010-027-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 15, 2024
End Date: Aug 14, 2025

Develop and test ecophysiological components in a hydrological modeling framework to improve the representation of post-fire ecosystem and hydrologic recovery after wildfire in the Southern Rockies, USA.

Ecophysiological submodel development will replicate widely used photosynthesis-stomatal conductance schemes that have been implemented in land surface and ecosystem models, but not before in hydrologic models. A meta-analysis of literature physiological parameters will be completed for common forest tree, shrub, and forb species. Parameters will also be calibrated to gas exchange and eddy flux data (where available) when assumption about partitioning eddy flux data into gross production and respiration components can be met. Alternately, eddy flux data will be used to assess physiological model performance at the plot level when available (e.g. Sawmill Creek, Niwot Ridge). Post-fire vegetation recovery will use field observations and remote sensing products such as Landsat or MODIS spectral indices and classified datasets such as LANDFIRE vegetation cover and height. To assess improvement to modeling soil moisture, ET, and stream flow, ecophysiological components will be added to the hydrologic model and evaluated against standard calibrated versions where ET is calculated primarily as a remainder term from a water balance estimate. Impacts on model performance will be assessed by changes to measured versus modeled bias and error statistics (e.g., RMSE, MBE).