CNR-IRSA activities related to INHABIT

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The runoff

In the study area in Val Masino (LOM1) the runoff conveyed in the Masino straem is sampled on a weekly basis since 1997. An hydrometer with data logger, together with an hydrometric pole, allow a detailed recording of the water level. The flow measurement carried out by the method of the tracer in different hydrological conditions allowed the reconstruction of time series, through the estimation of flow rate values, corresponding to water level data.

The water samples are analysed for the determination of major hydrochemical parameters and dissolved total nitrogen (TDN), dissolved total phosphorous (TDP) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Contrary to the soil solution, the stream chemistry integrates prevailing processes acting in the entire catchment where different types of land cover are present, included not only the forest portion, but also the area above the tree line.

A significant environmental indicator of N saturation, the condition in which the availability of inorganic N exceeds the N assimilation capacity of biological processes, is the temporal variation of nitrate (NO3) in the waters of uncontaminated catchments. The multi-annual monitoring of surface waters indicates relatively high N-NO3 concentrations in the Masino river, never below 10 µeq/L, suggesting a surplus of N bioavailability in the terrestrial ecosystem, corresponding to a transition between the stage 1 and 2 of the N saturation.