On the specific water holding capacity of litter for three forest ecosystems in the eastern foothills of the Alps

Katalin Anita Zagyvai-Kiss, Péter Kalicz, József Szilágyi, Zoltán Gribovszki

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Forest ecosystems typically have a large leaf-area index both within the crown level and on the ground as litter, making interception a very important element of the forest water balance. Broad information exists about crown interception, but relatively few data are available regarding litter interception. The litter layer is able to change the quantities of water available for soil infiltration and runoff, so the water holding capacity of the litter is an important parameter for hydrological modelling. In this study the water holding capacity of the litter for three species (spruce, beech, sessile oak) was determined under field conditions in the eastern foothills of the Alps. Litter data were produced through a collection of about 450–500 samples over two years (2003–2005). Although the litter oven-dry weights of the forest stands were different, the specific water holding capacities [litres per kg oven-dry weight] of the litter were near-identical for needle-leaf and broad-leaf forest ecosystems. According to our measurements, the specific water holding capacity of the litter is about 2.0–2.1 litres kg−1 oven-dry weight, regardless of the tree species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107656
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2019



  • Forest
  • Interception
  • Litter
  • Water holding capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science

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