Ecohydrological flow networks in the subsurface

L. E. Band*, J. J. McDonnell, J. M. Duncan, A. Barros, A. Bejan, T. Burt, W. E. Dietrich, R. E. Emanuel, T. Hwang, G. Katul, Y. Kim, B. McGlynn, B. Miles, A. Porporato, C. Scaife, P. A. Troch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Preferential flow in hillslope systems through subsurface networks developed from a range of botanical, faunal and geophysical processes have been observed and inferred for decades and may provide a large component of the bulk transport of water and solutes. However, our dominant paradigm for understanding and modelling hillslope hydrologic processes is still based on the Darcy-Richards matric flow framework, now with a set of additional methods to attempt to reproduce some of the aggregate function of the two-phase system of network and matrix flow. We call for a community effort to design and implement a set of well planned experiments in different natural and constructed hillslopes, coupled with the development of new theory and methods to explicitly incorporate and couple the co-evolution of subsurface flow networks as intrinsic components of hydrological, ecological and geomorphic systems. This is a major community challenge that can now benefit from new experimental infrastructure, renewal of older infrastructure and recent advances in sensor systems and computational capacity but will also require a sustained and organized interdisciplinary approach. Copyright (C) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1078
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • hillslope hydrology
  • flow networks
  • co-evolution
  • community challenge
  • plant-root systems
  • preferential flow
  • solute transport
  • constructal theory
  • river networks
  • water-flow
  • macropores
  • hillslope
  • model
  • ecosystems


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