Hydropedological insights when considering catchment classification

J. Bouma, P. Droogers, M.P.W. Sonneveld, C.J. Ritsema, J.E. Hunink, W.W. Immerzeel, S. Kauffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Soil classification systems are analysed in relation to the functioning and characterisation of catchments. Soil classifications are useful to create systematic order in the overwhelming quantity of different soils in the world and to extrapolate data available for a given soil type to soils elsewhere with identical classifications. However, such classifications are based on permanent characteristics as formed by the soil forming factors over often very long periods of time and this does not necessarily match with characteristics and parameters needed for functional soil characterization focusing, for example, on catchment hydrology. Hydropedology has made contributions towards functional characterization of soils as is illustrated for recent hydrological catchment studies. However, much still needs to be learned about the physical behaviour of anisotropic, heterogeneous field soils with varying soil structures during the year and the suggestion is made to first focus on improving simulation of catchment hydrology, incorporating hydropedological expertise, before embarking on a classification effort which involves major input of time and involves the risk of distraction. In doing so, we advise to also define other characteristics for catchment performance than the traditionally measured discharge rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2145-2173
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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