‘WaldLab Forest Experimental Site’ is a new partner of TreeNet

The site

The “Waldlabor” ecohydrological experimental site is located at Zürich Hönggerberg in close proximity to the ETH Hönggerberg Campus. The field site is embedded in the larger “Waldlabor” framework, a 1.5ha project area that is dedicated to research, teaching and interaction of students, researchers, and the broad public for the next 100 years. Further information on the “Waldlabor” project can be found at www.waldlabor.ch or in the App https://app.waldlabor.ch/.

Stemflow and throughfall monitoring setup (left) and the main streamflow gauge at “Holderbach”.

The aim

At our ecohydrology field site we aim to measure quantity and quality of all water fluxes along the forest water cycle. Due to the proximity to ETH Hönggerberg campus the site allows for labor intensive and high frequent measurements and inclusion into the university education of environmental engineers and environmental system scientists. Thus, in the last two years we already hosted several field courses and BSc and MSc theses and currently have an active phd project.

Point dendrometer measurements at a spruce tree (left) and a beech root (right).

The measurements

The measurement setup is built around the 0.5km2 headwater of “Holderbach” a small creek with (steep) forested hillslopes. We frequently measure climate parameters outside and inside the forest, stream gauge at the “Holderbach” and its tributaries and groundwater levels (in 9 boreholes). The main focus of the site are ecohydrological fluxes from the soil through plants to the atmosphere to better understand water uptake processes (i.e., plant water status and adaptation in times of water stress, the different depths of tree water uptake) of beech and spruce trees. Thus, we measure soil moisture, tension and matric potential in 10, 20, 40 and 80cm depth, sap flux, tree diameter change (Natkon Point Dendrometers – available in the TreeNet database), as well as stomatal conductance and stem & leaf water potential, at multiple beech and spruce trees. Our recent addition to the measurement setup is a root sensor setup, consisting of sap flux, point dendrometers and soil matric potential at beech and spruce roots accessing different depths. In addition, we frequently take water samples in all the different compartements of the hydrological cycle (precipitation, throughfall, beech and spruce xylem water, soil and groundwaters of different depths and streamflow) to analyze major ion and isotopic composition.

The project behind

For more information go to:


Or contact the head of the experimental site:

Dr. Marius Floriancic