Loading...
Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Infiltration processes in forested karst aquifers under changing environment

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.20.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Hydrology   

Code Science Field
P470  Natural sciences and mathematics  Hydrogeology, geographical and geological engineering 

Code Science Field
2.07  Engineering and Technology  Environmental engineering  
Keywords
karst hydrogeology; environmental changes; large-scale forest disturbances; aquifer recharge; contaminants transport; early-warning system
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (25)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  37554  PhD Matej Blatnik  Geography  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  202 
2.  17549  Franjo Drole    Technical associate  2019 - 2023  108 
3.  29164  PhD Mitja Ferlan  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  220 
4.  35362  PhD Katarina Flajšman  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  186 
5.  16180  PhD Franci Gabrovšek  Mechanics  Researcher  2019 - 2023  457 
6.  39085  PhD Janez Kermavnar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  121 
7.  38269  PhD Blaž Kogovšek  Geography  Junior researcher  2019 - 2020  119 
8.  53781  Erika Kozamernik  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  61 
9.  15108  PhD Lado Kutnar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  794 
10.  20842  PhD Aleksander Marinšek  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  382 
11.  38914  PhD Cyril Mayaud  Geology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  142 
12.  20220  PhD Janez Mulec  Biology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  488 
13.  50840  PhD Magdalena Năpăruş-Aljančič  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2023  122 
14.  12605  PhD Metka Petrič  Geology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  530 
15.  15687  PhD Tanja Pipan  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2019 - 2023  389 
16.  10264  PhD Primož Simončič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  702 
17.  27789  Iztok Sinjur    Technical associate  2019  291 
18.  10443  PhD Stanka Šebela  Geology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  526 
19.  54070  David Štefanič    Technical associate  2020 - 2023 
20.  52015  PhD Lara Valentić  Biology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2022  24 
21.  22592  PhD Urša Vilhar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  417 
22.  22574  PhD Nataša Viršek Ravbar  Geography  Head  2019 - 2023  485 
23.  17552  Mateja Zadel    Technical associate  2019 - 2021 
24.  01004  PhD Nadja Zupan Hajna  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2023  483 
25.  21137  Daniel Žlindra  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2019 - 2023  170 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0404  Slovenian Forestry Institute  Ljubljana  5051673000  11,878 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,523 
Abstract
Aquifers with karst porosity are unique hydrogeological systems due to concentrated recharge of water and its rapid infiltration, high permeability and fast transport through karst conduits over large distances. Owing to this peculiar characteristics of groundwater flow, the behaviour of karst aquifers is especially dependent on respective hydrological conditions and therefore vulnerable to the effects of various environmental changes. Alterations in precipitation and evapotranspiration regimes can cause direct impact through modified amounts and patterns, as well as occurrence of more frequent and severe hydrological extremes. Long-term effects with a diminution of water stocks and short-term effects with the increasingly frequent occurrence of extreme events (e.g., floods, droughts) have already been observed in karst areas of the Mediterrenean, China, Texas and elsewhere. The effects of some extreme events such as ice break, heat waves, droughts and storms may cause forest disturbance and, thus, modification of the vegetation cover, which play an important role in water infiltrating into karst systems. Major parts of the pre-alpine regions of the European Alps are highly karstified and densely forested. Large-scale disturbances in forests thus indirectly endanger stability of their water balance and springs water quality by decreased evapotranspiration and filtration. Despite the important role of karst water resources for freshwater supply, and for supporting the rich and unique biodiversity of the underground water ecosystem, few studies exist that adequately evaluate the impact of predicted global changes on their quantity and quality. In particular, the interconnected studies of the role and importance of soil and vegetation mantle in infiltration mechanisms including the hydrologic relationships to the whole aquifer recharge are lacking. Two research institutes, the Karst Research Institute and the Slovene Forestry Institute, both cutting-edge academic institutions in their fields, will address these issues in the present research proposal. The purpose of the project is to examine the impact of environmental changes (climate change, large-scale disturbances in forests) on karst aquifers and to develop an innovative early-warning system for water quantity and quality and expert recommendations for adapted management of karst water sources that will include guidelines for forest management in water protection zones. The work will be based on the use of highly multidisciplinary methods: continuous and event-based monitoring of basic meteorological and hydrogeological parameters through the entire aquifer together with monitoring of natural tracers and selected contaminants transport; execution of artificial irrigation and tracer test experiments; processing of aerial photos and remote sensing data; time series and statistical analyses; water balance evaluation; numerical modelling. In selected narrower areas, quantification of the role of the soil and vegetation cover in infiltration processes and evaluation of selected contaminants transport will be done throughout the profile comprising atmosphere – vegetation – soil – unsaturated – saturated aquifer zones. The processes will be modelled by coupling vegetation and hydrological models and by upscaling from local to entire catchment scale by means of remote sensing data. Various scenarios of vegetation changes will consequently be envisaged and impacts to aquifer recharge mechanisms predicted. The results will represent a new contribution in the field of karst hydrology and a globally unique approach to a topic of great actuality.
Significance for science
Despite the fact that the consequences of environmental changes are more or less observable, science has not so far been very successful in helping policy actors and water supply companies to control and adapt them. Basic research and the transfer of results to address these problems in practice are lacking even in developed countries. Insufficient is also research related to the vulnerability of karst water sources to specific environmental pressures. The proposed project will address the highlighted problems in an innovative manner using knowledge and methods that are adapted to research in karst. Moreover, by coupling numerical models for different compartments of the aquifer and by testing the use of remote sensing techniques for inference from local- to catchment-scale makes it a technologically high-potential project. The results will represent a new contribution in the field of karst hydrology and a globally unique approach to a topic of great actuality. They will bring significant innovations in the field of environmental changes consequences research. The results will contribute to the introduction of new practices and expand the frontiers of research, and in this way initiate the development of a new branch of science: environmental karstology. The proposed project is in line with the national Research and Development Programme and the thematic priorities within the Public Call. The results will help increase Slovenia's competitiveness and innovativeness in knowledge of the topic in question. The proposed work will be closely linked to the efforts of an ongoing national project lead by the project leader, i.e., J6-8266 Environmental effects and karst water sources: impacts, vulnerability and adaptation of land use. It will be also connected to research performed within the international Karst Critical Zone and eLTER networks. Both the applicant (IZRK) and the participating institution (GIS) are involved in the later, which recently became part of the major European research infrastructure. With the realisation of this project, Slovenia will obtain expert recommendations adapted to environmental changes, and additional knowledge about the sustainable management of water sources, which are in accordance with Slovenian legislation and European directives. The project's objectives are also in line with the focuses of the regional development programmes and are in the public interest, in that the results are important for general improvement in quality of life. The results will be useful to the public administration, particularly to planners of activities and developments in karst areas at the national and local levels (ministries and municipalities; e.g., for the Water Management Plan), and to the economy (water supply) and others. Especially forest management will benefit from guidelines for hydrologically oriented forest management in water protection zones. Lastly, the results will have an indirect influence on natural heritage protection.
Significance for the country
Despite the fact that the consequences of environmental changes are more or less observable, science has not so far been very successful in helping policy actors and water supply companies to control and adapt them. Basic research and the transfer of results to address these problems in practice are lacking even in developed countries. Insufficient is also research related to the vulnerability of karst water sources to specific environmental pressures. The proposed project will address the highlighted problems in an innovative manner using knowledge and methods that are adapted to research in karst. Moreover, by coupling numerical models for different compartments of the aquifer and by testing the use of remote sensing techniques for inference from local- to catchment-scale makes it a technologically high-potential project. The results will represent a new contribution in the field of karst hydrology and a globally unique approach to a topic of great actuality. They will bring significant innovations in the field of environmental changes consequences research. The results will contribute to the introduction of new practices and expand the frontiers of research, and in this way initiate the development of a new branch of science: environmental karstology. The proposed project is in line with the national Research and Development Programme and the thematic priorities within the Public Call. The results will help increase Slovenia's competitiveness and innovativeness in knowledge of the topic in question. The proposed work will be closely linked to the efforts of an ongoing national project lead by the project leader, i.e., J6-8266 Environmental effects and karst water sources: impacts, vulnerability and adaptation of land use. It will be also connected to research performed within the international Karst Critical Zone and eLTER networks. Both the applicant (IZRK) and the participating institution (GIS) are involved in the later, which recently became part of the major European research infrastructure. With the realisation of this project, Slovenia will obtain expert recommendations adapted to environmental changes, and additional knowledge about the sustainable management of water sources, which are in accordance with Slovenian legislation and European directives. The project's objectives are also in line with the focuses of the regional development programmes and are in the public interest, in that the results are important for general improvement in quality of life. The results will be useful to the public administration, particularly to planners of activities and developments in karst areas at the national and local levels (ministries and municipalities; e.g., for the Water Management Plan), and to the economy (water supply) and others. Especially forest management will benefit from guidelines for hydrologically oriented forest management in water protection zones. Lastly, the results will have an indirect influence on natural heritage protection.
Most important scientific results Interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report
Views history
Favourite