Growth and water use performance of four co-occurring riparian tree species in a Mediterranean riparian forest

Nadal-Sala D., Sabaté S., Sánchez-Costa E., Poblador S., Sabater F., Gracia C. (2017) Growth and water use performance of four co-occurring riparian tree species in a Mediterranean riparian forest. Forest Ecology and Management. 396: 132-142.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.04.021

Resum:

Mediterranean riparian zones act as vegetation shelters for several deciduous tree species at the edge of their bioclimatic distribution, e.g. alder (Alnus glutinosa), black poplar (Populus nigra) or ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Current global warming and human induced disturbances may worsen their growing conditions. Under such circumstances, black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is outcompeting autochthonous tree species. Here, we provide evidences of black locust better growth and water use performance than alder and ash. We compare the temporal and spatial patterns of transpiration and the stem basal area increments of alder, black poplar, common ash and black locust, all of them co-occurring in a mixed riparian Mediterranean forest. Black locust presented the lowest transpiration values per basal area unit (4.0 mm·m−2·growing season−1). Although tree transpiration was mainly driven by energy availability instead of water, ash transpiration was constrained by water availability at soil water contents below 0.08 cm3·cm−3. Black locust was the only tree species growing all over the water availability gradient present in the study site, and it did not present any significant difference in sap flow values across this gradient. Furthermore, black locust and black poplar were the species with higher growth-based water use efficiency (5.4 g·cm−1·m−3 and 3.6 g·cm−1·m−3, respectively); ash and alder were the less efficient ones (2.8 g·cm−1·m−3 and 1.9 g·cm−1·m−3respectively). The good performance of black locust is relevant to understand its great successful invasion of Mediterranean riparian forests, particularly after human-induced disturbances, as forest management. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

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Does soil moisture overrule temperature dependence of soil respiration in Mediterranean riparian forests?

Chang C.T., Sabaté S., Sperlich D., Poblador S., Sabater F., Gracia C. (2014) Does soil moisture overrule temperature dependence of soil respiration in Mediterranean riparian forests?. Biogeosciences. 11: 6173-6185.
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Doi: 10.5194/bg-11-6173-2014

Resum:

Soil respiration (SR) is a major component of ecosystems' carbon cycles and represents the second largest CO2 flux in the terrestrial biosphere. Soil temperature is considered to be the primary abiotic control on SR, whereas soil moisture is the secondary control factor. However, soil moisture can become the dominant control on SR in very wet or dry conditions. Determining the trigger that makes soil moisture as the primary control factor of SR will provide a deeper understanding on how SR changes under the projected future increase in droughts. Specific objectives of this study were (1) to investigate the seasonal variations and the relationship between SR and both soil temperature and moisture in a Mediterranean riparian forest along a groundwater level gradient; (2) to determine soil moisture thresholds at which SR is controlled by soil moisture rather than by temperature; (3) to compare SR responses under different tree species present in a Mediterranean riparian forest (Alnus glutinosa, Populus nigra and Fraxinus excelsior). Results showed that the heterotrophic soil respiration rate, groundwater level and 30 cm integral soil moisture (SM30) decreased significantly from the riverside moving uphill and showed a pronounced seasonality. SR rates showed significant differences between tree species, with higher SR for P. nigra and lower SR for A. glutinosa. The lower threshold of soil moisture was 20 and 17% for heterotrophic and total SR, respectively. Daily mean SR rate was positively correlated with soil temperature when soil moisture exceeded the threshold, with Q10 values ranging from 1.19 to 2.14; nevertheless, SR became decoupled from soil temperature when soil moisture dropped below these thresholds. © 2014 Author(s).

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