Post fire induced soil water repellency-Modeling short and long-term processes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil water repellency has direct implications to hydrological as well as geomorphological processes, especially in fire-prone ecosystems. Five predominant mechanisms have been described as generating water repellency in soils: fungal and microbial activity, growth of particular vegetation species, organic matter, heating of the soils by wildfires and soil characteristics. Herein we synthesize among these mechanisms and propose a general model describing the long-term properties of water repellency in soils. Using non-linear regression analysis methods we compare among different variants of the model in order to assess the relative role of vegetation on water-repellency dynamics. We suggest that following a wildfire event hydrophobic peak soil properties are dictated by vegetation properties, but that the rapid decrease is not associated with the vegetation. Following wildfires, the recovery of the ecosystem commences and water-repellency is characterized by increased predominance of the biotic activity. Thus, the general pattern of a rapid decrease and a long-term increase in water repellency can be described by a mathematical model presented herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Jorge Mataix-Solera and Pavel Dalpa for insightful discussion, two anonymous reviewers for important insights and Naama Tessler for her invaluable work and assistance in collecting field data. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation grant No. 882/06 and partially funded by IALC grant number 243132 .


  • Hydrophobicity
  • Mathematical model
  • Soil water repellency
  • Water drop penetration test
  • Wildfires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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