Stefanie Kaupa

Stefanie Kaupa

Profile Display Name:

Stefanie Kaupa

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2018 (Cohort 5)

Research interests:

agriculture and land use change in mountain environments, hydrology, soil science, low cost monitoring equipment

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Hydrological Impacts of Agricultural Land Abandonment in Nepal and Colombia

Research Theme


Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


Additional supervisor(s)

Sampurno Bruijnzeel (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam),


This study investigates the effects of land cover change on hydrological dynamics in water quantity and regulation services in tropical watersheds, with case studies from Colombia.
Reforestation, forest restoration and rewilding are popular approaches to reduce land degradation and improve ecosystem service such as carbon sequestration. Global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Bonn Challenge and others are providing a platform and funding for these efforts. However, projects are often not assessed for impacts unrelated to the targeted ecosystem service. This often true for water regulation and provision services, despite a long tradition of research on the hydrological effects of reforestation. This research project will model the effects of ongoing or planned forest regrowth within the tropics on downstream annual and seasonal tradeoffs in evapotranspiration (ET) and infiltration, with a special focus on the watersheds of dams.
The results will inform the current infiltration-evapotranspiration tradeoff debate which aims to supply science-based support to decision-making on forest regrowth and reforestation.

First, the study designs realistic scenarios for medium and longterm forest regrowth in the tropics using state-of-the-art remote sensing datasets on potential forest ecosystem distribution and socio-economic constraints to forest regrowth. It will then use a modified evapotranspiration model with a soil moisture component to produce ET and infiltration for baseline and scenario with climatology datasets. The results will be used to identify spatial and temporal patterns in the tradeoff ratio of ET to infiltration.

On the case study scale, research takes place in hydrologically relevant ecosystems in Colombian paramo and cloud forest in plots with different land covers. Here, water balance, runoff and timing of water yield will be examined using stream discharge, soil moisture, drainage and soil property data from two paired catchment setups.

Policy Impact

The outcomes of this study will be able to inform decisions on the location of tropical tree regrowth projects with regards to the trade-off between meeting carbon sequestration and water resource goals.

Background Reading

POR EL Páramo website:



DTP Activities
DTP Activities

Member of the Joint DTP Summer Conference Organising Committee 2020

Social Links
University Departmental Website:

Personal Website:




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