Standard Article

103 Terrestrial Ecosystems

Part 9. Ecological and Hydrological Interactions

  1. Christina L Tague1,
  2. Lawrence E Band2,
  3. Janet Franklin1

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa109

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Tague, C. L., Band, L. E. and Franklin, J. 2006. Terrestrial Ecosystems. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 9:103.

Author Information

  1. 1

    San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, US

  2. 2

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The science of ecohydrology centers on understanding the linkages and feedbacks between terrestrial ecosystems and the hydrologic cycle. Within the disciplines of hydrology, ecosystem ecology, and community ecology, a wide range of conceptual, mathematical, and field-based approaches have evolved to address specific ecohydrologic research questions. In this article, we discuss key elements of these ecohydrologic approaches. We begin by focusing on conceptual frameworks that are organized at the patch level, which define spatially homogeneous units. We compare a set of models in terms of the specific hydrologic and ecologic processes considered and the degree of coupling between them. We then address issues of landscape heterogeneity and compare approaches to the resolution of spatial patterns of soil, topography, vegetation, and atmospheric conditions and the representation of the interactions and feedbacks between neighboring patches. The hierarchical structure and function of terrestrial ecohydrologic systems involve processes varying over very different time and space scales. Finally, we discuss challenges and next steps in developing an integrated framework that can address the range of spatial and temporal scales implied by hydrologic feedbacks on both shorter-term ecosystem material and energy cycling and longer-term ecosystem structure and evolution.


  • ecohydrology;
  • patch dynamics;
  • ecosystem cycling;
  • community ecology;
  • disturbance