Forest system hydraulic conductance: partitioning tree and soil components

Binks, Oliver, Cernusak, Lucas A., Liddell, Michael, Bradford, Matt, Coughlin, Ingrid, Carle, Hannah, Bryant, Callum, Dunn, Elliot, Oliveira, Rafael, Mencuccini, Maurizio, and Meir, Patrick (2022) Forest system hydraulic conductance: partitioning tree and soil components. New Phytologist, 233 (4). pp. 1667-1681.

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Abstract

Soil–leaf hydraulic conductance determines canopy–atmosphere coupling in vegetation models, but it is typically derived from ex-situ measurements of stem segments and soil samples. Using a novel approach, we derive robust in-situ estimates for whole-tree conductance (ktree), ‘functional’ soil conductance (ksoil), and ‘system’ conductance (ksystem, water table to canopy), at two climatically different tropical rainforest sites.

Hydraulic ‘functional rooting depth’, determined for each tree using profiles of soil water potential (Ψsoil) and sap flux data, enabled a robust determination of ktree and ksoil. ktree was compared across species, size classes, seasons, height above nearest drainage (HAND), two field sites, and to alternative representations of ktree; ksoil was analysed with respect to variations in site, season and HAND.

ktree was lower and changed seasonally at the site with higher vapour pressure deficit (VPD) and rainfall; ktree differed little across species but scaled with tree circumference; rsoil (1/ksoil) ranged from 0 in the wet season to 10× less than rtree (1/ktree) in the dry season.

VPD and not rainfall may influence plot-level k; leaf water potentials and sap flux can be used to determine ktree, ksoil and ksystem; Ψsoil profiles can provide mechanistic insights into ecosystem-level water fluxes.

Item ID: 72217
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: drought stress, forest ecohydrology, rainforest hydraulics, soil hydraulic conductance, tree mortality, tropical forest, whole-tree hydraulic conductance
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP17010409
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 11:20
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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