Effects of Stemflow on Soil Water Dynamics in Forest Stands

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 240)


Stemflow contributes to an uneven water input and preferential infiltration and percolation that increases the heterogeneity of soil water dynamics in forested stands. These aboveground and underground effects are referred to as the double-funneling effect of a tree. Stemflow serves as a principal source of the rainwater input around a tree, and tends to enter the soil over a small infiltration area and then preferentially flow along the network of root channels. This kind of concentrated infiltration and channelization of stemflow could generate perched water in soil layers or at the soil–bedrock interface. The double-funneling effect also influences the soil water redistribution process and the spatial pattern of soil water during the drying process. The double-funneling effect has been qualitatively demonstrated for various species with links to soil erosion, subsurface flow, slope stability, groundwater recharge, and runoff generation at various scales. A comprehensive and integrated understanding of the double-funneling effect is needed. This chapter reviews the current understanding of how stemflow affects soil water dynamics in both wetting and drying processes. After discussing field evidence of the effects of stemflow on soil water responses, their modeling and issues requiring future study are highlighted.


Double-funneling effect Infiltration modeling Perched water table Preferential flow Slope stability Soil water redistribution Throughfall 



This chapter was supported by the grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (107-2313-B-002-016). The author thanks Dr. Takahisa Mizuyama and Dr. Ken’ichirou Kosugi at Kyoto University, Japan, for providing valuable suggestions. Special thanks are given to Dr. Delphis Levia, an Editor of the book, for his encouragement on writing this chapter.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forestry and Resource ConservationNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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