Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Exploring the influence of biological traits and environmental drivers on water use variations across contrasting forests.

Abstract

Understanding species-specific water use patterns across contrasting sites and how sensitivity of responses to environmental variables changes for different species is critical for evaluating potential forest dynamics and land use changes under global change. To quantify water use patterns and the sensitivity of tree transpiration to environmental drivers among sites and species, sap flow and meteorological data sets from three contrasting climatic zones were combined and compared in this analysis. Agathis australis from NZHP site, Schima wallichii Choisy (native) and Acacia mangium Willd (exotic) from CHS site, Liquidamber formosana Hance, Quercus variabilis Blume and Quercus acutissima Carruth from CJGS site were the dominant trees chosen as our study species. Biological traits were collected to explain the underlying physiological mechanisms for water use variation. Results showed that the strongest environmental drivers of sap flow were photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and temperature across sites, indicating that the response of water use to abiotic drivers converged across sites. Water use magnitude was site specific, which was controlled by site characteristics, species composition and local weather conditions. The species with higher sap flow density (Fd) generally had greater stomatal conductance. Native deciduous broadleaved species had a higher Fd and faster response to stomatal regulation than that of native evergreen broadleaved species (S. wallichii) and conifer species A. australis. The analysis also showed that exotic species (A. mangium) consumed more water than native species (S. wallichii). Trees with diffuse porous and lower wood density had relatively higher Fd for angiosperms, suggesting that water use was regulated by physiological differences. Water use characteristics across sites are controlled by both external factors such as site-specific characteristics (local environmental conditions and species composition) and internal factors such as biological traits (xylem anatomy, root biomass and leaf area), which highlights the complexity of quantifying land water budgets for areas covered by different species.