Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (Irish Group) pages:1-8
28th Annual Conference location:Tullamore date:22-23 April 2008
Throughout the world ecohydrology has lately been discovered, and tightly embraced, as a new scientific
discipline. Several authors have stressed its importance to the progress of hydrology and ecology but
there appears to be a wide range of ideas on the topics ecohydrology is supposed to include. Elements of
the history of ecohydrology are described here and different ecohydrologic schools are distinguished.
One of the roots of ecohydrology is based on the dependence of phreatophytic plant species on
groundwater. In the first half of the 20th century plants were regularly used as indicators in groundwater
investigations by hydrologists. More recent the interest in phreatophytes in general revived again,
following the interest in groundwater dependent ecosystems. A case study is used to show the benefit of
use of phreatophytes in hydrological studies. It is argued that a well balanced use of ‘soft’ phreatophytic
information can be complementary to ‘hard’ groundwater data and analysis techniques and help to
understand more profoundly groundwater dependent ecosystems.