Vegetation, particularly its dynamics, is the often-ignored linchpin of the land-surface hydrology. This work emphasizes the coupled nature of vegetation-water-energy dynamics by considering linkages at timescales that vary from hourly to interannual. A series of two papers is presented. A dynamic ecohydrological model [tRIBS + VEGGIE] is described in this paper. It reproduces essential water and energy processes over the complex topography of a river basin and links them to the basic plant life regulatory processes. The framework focuses on ecohydrology of semiarid environments exhibiting abundant input of solar energy but limiting soil water that correspondingly affects vegetation structure and organization. The mechanisms through which water limitation influences plant dynamics are related to carbon assimilation via the control of photosynthesis and stomatal behavior, carbon allocation, stress-induced foliage loss, as well as recruitment and phenology patterns. This first introductory paper demonstrates model performance using observations for a site located in a semiarid environment of central New Mexico.
Ivanov V.Y., Bras R.L., Vivoni E.R. (2008): Vegetation-Hydrology Dynamics in Complex Terrain of Semiarid Areas: I A Mechanistic Approach to Modeling Dynamic Feedbacks. Water Resources Research.