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115 Landscape Element Contributions to Storm Runoff

Part 10. Rainfall-Runoff Processes

  1. Jan Seibert1,
  2. Brian McGlynn2

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa128

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Seibert, J. and McGlynn, B. 2006. Landscape Element Contributions to Storm Runoff. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 10:115.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Stockholm University, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm, Sweden

  2. 2

    Montana State University, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Watershed Hydrology Laboratory, Bozeman, MT, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Hydrological conditions and the corresponding land area contributions to streamflow vary across the landscape. Landscapes are mosaics that can be described in varying levels of detail. This document describes the importance of different landscape elements for storm runoff generation. Since topography is often a first-order control on hydrological processes, topographic indices can be used to describe the spatial variations of hydrological conditions. Another approach is the delineation of landscape elements. We suggest that riparian and hillslope areas are the two most basic landscape elements that need to be considered; however, additional landscape elements including urban areas, floodplains, croplands, wetlands, and so on, can also be important. Landscape elements can be defined through hydrological analysis. This analysis can further define their lateral connections and organization along the stream network, providing valuable interpretation of the dominant controls on hydrological response across the landscape. Additionally, approaches to represent landscape elements in hydrological modeling are reviewed.


  • catchment modeling;
  • hydrologic landscape analysis;
  • landscape elements;
  • landscape units;
  • storm runoff;
  • topography