Calder, Ian R

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Ian Rainy Calder (29 December 1945 - 14 May 2009 (UK)


Professor Ian Calder was Director of the Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research at Newcastle University, UK, and Coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force on Forest and Water Interactions. Ian Calder was a specialist in forest hydrology, land use and integrated water resources management. . He graduated in Special Physics at Leeds University in 1968 and completed a PhD in Cosmic Ray Physics there in 1971. After a brief spell as a Scientific Control Systems (SCICON) Operations Research Consultant, he turned his talents in physics to hydrology by joining, in 1972, the Soil Physics section of the then Institute of Hydrology (IH) at Wallingford (now the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology).

Promoted (in 1976) to Head of the IH Process Interactions Section, Ian led further studies in forest hydrology at the Plynlimon and Balquhidder catchments, where his skills in applying new techniques led to the successful deployment of gamma ray attenuation for the measurement of snow interception on forest canopies.

In 1986 he was seconded from IH to be the Chief Water Resources Officer in Malawi, a post he held for three years. This appointment fostered his concern for the water resources of developing countries and, on his return to IH, led to his appointment in 1989 as Hydrology Adviser to the UK government’s Overseas Development Administration (ODA), the forerunner of the Department for International Development (DfID). As adviser he steered ODA towards recognising the importance of water in many developing countries and of the subtle interactions between land and water resources management.

In 1998, he followed the northward route to Professorship for former IH staff pioneered by Enda O’Connell and Malcolm Newson to become Professor of Land Use and Water Resources Management and Director of the Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research (CLUWRR) at Newcastle University.

Ian was not only an excellent scientist but had a facility for developing relationships with the major funding and management organizations for land and water resources management, including the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, DfID and corresponding government agencies in all continents. He was the International Task Force Leader for Forest and Water Interactions in the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

He travelled widely in his work, especially to India, Malawi, South Africa, Panama, Costa Rica, Indonesia, China, Norway, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Vietnam, and of course within the UK. Despite his considerable reputation in the UK, he was perhaps even more widely known abroad, often called upon to present talks at major international conferences at a range of venues. Upon the announcement of his death, messages of sympathy were received from around the world, extolling his personal qualities as much as his scientific standing.

Ian published extensively. He will be remembered particularly for his books “Evaporation in the Uplands” (1990), which distilled much of his experience in Wales and Scotland, and “The Blue Revolution” (1999, 2005), which discussed land use and integrated water resources management, drawing upon his wide international experience and critically examining the basis for some of the public misperceptions concerning the hydrological effects of forests. He was Managing Editor of the e-journal “Land Use and Water Resources Research” and an Associate Editor of the “Journal of Hydrology” and of “Tree Physiology”. He was a Visiting Professor at Loughborough and Birkbeck Universities.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Ian Calder made significant contributions to the study and modelling of interception and evapotranspiration by tree canopies. He rapidly developed an expertise in combining meticulously designed field experiments using novel measuring techniques, with physically-based process modelling. He instigated a natural lysimeter at Plynlimon, following the early lead of Frank Law at Stocks reservoir as well as that of the IH Director, Jim McCulloch, in East Africa. He supplemented the lysimeter readings by using the relatively new IH neutron probe to measure soil water changes and designed sheet gauges to determine net rainfall under tree canopies. Combining these measurements with application of the Rutter canopy water balance model and the results of complementary tree physiology and grassland water vapour flux experiments by the late John Roberts (also of IH) he was able to demonstrate convincingly the interception mechanism by which forests may use more water than grasslands. A generalised forest water use model was developed (with Malcolm Newson) for use across Britain.

A very exciting moment, almost a decade later, came when Ian, Peter Walsh and Malcolm Newson climbed to an attic at Stocks Reservoir to discover all of Frank Law's unpublished lysimeter and catchment data, which they subsequently wrote up as independent confirmation of the Plynlimon findings.

During his time in Malawi he led a major multi-disciplinary project investigating the water use of eucalyptus plantations in India and, as part of this, he developed the deuterium tracing technique to measure the water use (transpiration) of individual trees. Subsequently (from 1993), as Head of IH’s Land Use and Experimental Hydrology Division, he expanded IH’s already considerable reputation in the impact of forest planting across the world.

He was one of the first people to use stochastic models of interception by trees. An important modelling paper (Calder et al., 1985) showed that even simple soil moisture deficit models could reproduce observed soil moisture deficit rather well, even under rather extreme conditions. Adding model complexity added little or no predictive power.

Reference Material[edit]

World Biographical Encyclopaedia entry

IWRM Obituary


Ian was convivial and resourceful on his travels. On at least one trip to Plynlimon, leaving a pub lock-in well after the doors of the renowned Lloyd’s Hotel (haunt of hydrologists at Llanidloes where he was staying) were locked, he and his fellow fieldworkers famously “borrowed” a ladder from a nearby builder’s yard to climb in via the back window!

Major Publications[edit]


Calder, I.R., 1990. Evaporation in the Uplands. Wiley.

Calder, I.R., 1999. The blue revolution: land use and integrated water resources management. Earthscan.

Selected Papers[edit]

Calder, I.R., 1976. The measurement of water losses from a forested area using a “natural” lysimeter. Journal of hydrology, 30(4), pp.311-325.

Calder, I.R. and Rosier, P.T.W., 1976. The design of large plastic-sheet net-rainfall gauges. Journal of Hydrology, 30(4), pp.403-405.

Calder, I.R., 1977. A model of transpiration and interception loss from a spruce forest in Plynlimon, central Wales. Journal of Hydrology, 33(3), pp.247-265.

Calder, I.R. and Kidd, C.H.R., 1978. A note on the dynamic calibration of tipping-bucket gauges. Journal of hydrology, 39(3), pp.383-386.

Calder, I.R. and Newson, M.D., 1979. Land‐use and upland water resources in Britain - A strategic look. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 15(6), pp.1628-1639.

Shuttleworth, W.J. and Calder, I.R., 1979. Has the Priestley-Taylor equation any relevance to forest evaporation?. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 18(5), pp.639-646.

Calder, I.R., Harding, R.J. and Rosier, P.T.W., 1983. An objective assessment of soil-moisture deficit models. Journal of Hydrology, 60(1-4), pp.329-355.

Calder, I.R. and Neal, C., 1984. Evaporation from saline lakes: a combination equation approach. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 29(1), pp.89-97.

Calder, I.R., 1986. A stochastic model of rainfall interception. Journal of Hydrology, 89(1), pp.65-71.

Calder, I.R., 1986. Water use of eucalypts—A review with special reference to south India. Agricultural Water Management, 11(3-4), pp.333-342.

Calder, I.R., Wright, I.R. and Murdiyarso, D., 1986. A study of evaporation from tropical rain forest—West Java. Journal of Hydrology, 89(1-2), pp.13-31.

Calder, I.R. and Wright, I.R., 1986. Gamma ray attenuation studies of interception from Sitka spruce: some evidence for an additional transport mechanism. Water Resources Research, 22(3), pp.409-417.

Calder, I.R., 1992. Water use of eucalypts-a review (No. CONF-9102202--). John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, NY (United States).

Calder, I.R., 1992. A model of transpiration and growth of Eucalyptus plantation in water-limited conditions. Journal of Hydrology, 130(1), pp.1-15.

Calder, I.R., Hall, R.L. and Prasanna, K.T., 1993. Hydrological impact of Eucalyptus plantation in India. Journal of Hydrology, 150(2), pp.635-648.

Hall, R.L. and Calder, I.R., 1993. Drop size modification by forest canopies: measurements using a disdrometer. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 98(D10), pp.18465-18470.

Calder, I.R., Hall, R.L., Bastable, H.G., Gunston, H.M., Shela, O., Chirwa, A. and Kafundu, R., 1995. The impact of land use change on water resources in sub-Saharan Africa: a modelling study of Lake Malawi. Journal of Hydrology, 170(1), pp.123-135.

Calder, I.R., 1996. Dependence of rainfall interception on drop size: 1. Development of the two-layer stochastic model. Journal of Hydrology, 185(1), pp.363-378.

Calder, I.R., Hall, R.L., Rosier, P.T., Bastable, H.G. and Prasanna, K.T., 1996. Dependence of rainfall interception on drop size: 2. Experimental determination of the wetting functions and two-layer stochastic model parameters for five tropical tree species. Journal of Hydrology, 185(1), pp.379-388.

Calder, I.R., Rosier, P.T., Prasanna, K.T. and Parameswarappa, S., 1997. Eucalyptus water use greater than rainfall input-possible explanation from southern India. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 1(2), pp.249-256.

Calder, I.R., 1998. Water use by forests, limits and controls. Tree physiology, 18(8-9), pp.625-631.

Calder, I.R., 2001. Canopy processes: implications for transpiration, interception and splash induced erosion, ultimately for forest management and water resources. Plant ecology, 153(1-2), pp.203-214.

Calder, I.R. and Dye, P., 2001. Hydrological impacts of invasive alien plants. Land Use and Water Resources Research, 1(7), pp.1-8.

Calder, I.R., 2002. Forests and hydrological services: reconciling public and science perceptions. Land use and water resources research, 2(2), pp.1-12.

Calder, I.R., Reid, I., Nisbet, T.R. and Green, J.C., 2003. Impact of lowland forests in England on water resources: Application of the Hydrological Land Use Change (HYLUC) model. Water Resources Research, 39(11).

Calder, I.R., 2004. Forests and Water-Closing the gap between public and science perceptions. Water Science and Technology, 49(7), pp.39-53.

Calder, I.R. and Aylward, B., 2006. Forest and floods: Moving to an evidence-based approach to watershed and integrated flood management. Water International, 31(1), pp.87-99.

Calder, I.R., 2007. Forests and water—ensuring forest benefits outweigh water costs. Forest ecology and management, 251(1), pp.110-120.

In Memoriam Paper[edit]

Bathurst, J.C., Amezaga, J., Cisneros, F., Gaviño Novillo, M., Iroumé, A., Lenzi, M.A., Mintegui Aguirre, J., Miranda, M. and Urciuolo, A., 2010. Forests and floods in Latin America: science, management, policy and the EPIC FORCE project: In memoriam: Ian Rainy Calder (1945–2009). Water International, 35(2), pp.114-131.