Riparian zones (RZs) typically cover only a small fraction of the area in a catchment. However, due to their close location near streams, RZs have a disproportionately large influence on surface water chemistry. Being located in valley bottoms, RZs function hydrologically as discharge areas and are often characterized by relatively humid soils. Their hydrological function makes RZs sensitive to variations in the hydrological cycle which might occur as a result of climate change. At the same time RZs are exposed to anthropogenic pressure since humid riparian soils are often seen as obstacles for effective forestry and are additionally vulnerable to damages caused, e.g., by driving heavy forestry machines. A better understanding of RZs functioning is hence crucial for developing effective management strategies to better cope with the effects from climate change and more intense forestry practices.