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Land classification based on hydrological landscape units

By S. Gharari, F. Fenicia, M. Hrachowitz and H. H. G. Savenije


This paper presents a new type of hydrological landscape classification based on dominant runoff mechanisms. Three landscape classes are distinguished: wetland, hillslope and plateau, corresponding to three dominant hydrological regimes: saturation excess overland flow, storage excess sub-surface flow, and deep percolation. Topography, geology and land use hold the key to identifying these landscapes. The height above the nearest drain (HAND) and the surface slope, which can be readily obtained from a digital elevation model, appear to be the dominant topographical parameters for hydrological classification. In this paper several indicators for classification are tested as well as their sensitivity to scale and sample size. It appears that the best results are obtained by the simple use of HAND and slope. The results obtained compare well with field observations and the topographical wetness index. The new approach appears to be an efficient method to "read the landscape" on the basis of which conceptual models can be developed

Topics: LCC:Physical geography, LCC:GB3-5030, LCC:Geography. Anthropology. Recreation, LCC:G, DOAJ:Geography, DOAJ:Earth and Environmental Sciences, LCC:Environmental sciences, LCC:GE1-350, LCC:Geography. Anthropology. Recreation, LCC:G, DOAJ:Environmental Sciences, DOAJ:Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.5194/hessd-8-4381-2011
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