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Access to water reserves in deep soil during drought periods determines whether or not the tropical moist forests of Amazonia will be buffered from the deleterious effects of water deficits. Changing climatic conditions are predicted to increase periods of drought in Amazonian forests and may lead to increased tree mortality, changes in forest composition, or greater susceptibility to fire. A throughfall reduction experiment has been established in the Tapajos National Forest of east-central Amazonia (Brazil) to test the potential effects of severe water stress during prolonged droughts. Using time domain reflectometry observations of water contents from this experiment, we have developed a dynamic, one-dimensional, vertical flow model to enhance our understanding of hydrologic processes within these tall-stature forests on well-drained, upland, deep Oxisols and to simulate changes in the distribution of soil water. Simulations using 960 days of data accurately captured mild soil water depletion near the surface after the first treatment year and decreasing soil moisture at depth during the second treatment year. The model is sensitive to the water retention and unsaturated flow equation parameters, specifically the van Genuchten parameters theta(s), theta(r), and n, but less sensitive to K-s and alpha. The low root-mean-square error between observed and predicted volumetric soil water content suggests that this vertical flow model captures the most important hydrologic processes in the upper landscape position of this study site. The model indicates that present rates of evapotranspiration within the exclusion plot have been sustained at the expense of soil water storage

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