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Berlin Environmental Atlas

01.11 Criteria for the Evaluation of the Soil Functions (Edition 2018)

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01.11.8 Water Supply

Description

The water supply of plants depends on the capacity of soil to store precipitated water in the root zone and the ability to release the water back to the plant roots. The quantity of water which soil can retain depends on the soil texture, humus content, bulk density and the proportion of coarse soil. Soils connected to the groundwater benefit from capillary water rising from the groundwater, which may increase the water supply available to plants dramatically.

The average usable field capacity of the shallow root zone is used to assess soils with regard to their water supply.

Methodology

WThe level of water supply is only needed to evaluate the yield function for cultivated plants (cf. map 01.12.2) and the habitat function for rare and near-natural plant communities (cf. map 01.12.1).The water supply of the sites and soil associations is therefore derived from the mean usable field capacity (nFk) of the shallow root zone (0-3 dm) (cf. map 01.06.2). The water supply for deep-rooted plants (> 3 to 15 dm), such as trees, is not determined here. The evaluation is based on Tab. 1. In order to take capillary rise into account, the rating is increased by one level at a depth to groundwater of < 0.8 m (if the water supply has not been rated "high" already).

Tab. 1: Usable field capacity levels and evaluation of the water supply
nFK [mm] shallow root zone nFK level Water supply
      Description Remarks
< 60 1 - 2 very low - low 1 bad
60 - < 80 3 - 4 moderate - increased 2 medium
80 - ≥ 110 5 - 6 high to very high 3 good
Tab. 1: Usable field capacity levels and evaluation of the water supply (Gerstenberg 2017)

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