Hydraulic redistribution of soil water by roots affects whole-stand evapotranspiration and net ecosystem carbon exchange.


*Hydraulic redistribution (HR) of water via roots from moist to drier portions of the soil occurs in many ecosystems, potentially influencing both water use and carbon assimilation. *By measuring soil water content, sap flow and eddy covariance, we investigated the temporal variability of HR in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation during months of normal and below-normal precipitation, and examined its effects on tree transpiration, ecosystem water use and carbon exchange. *The occurrence of HR was explained by courses of reverse flow through roots. As the drought progressed, HR maintained soil moisture above 0.15 cm(3) cm(-3) and increased transpiration by 30-50%. HR accounted for 15-25% of measured total site water depletion seasonally, peaking at 1.05 mm d(-1). The understory species depended on water redistributed by the deep-rooted overstory pine trees for their early summer water supply. Modeling carbon flux showed that in the absence of HR, gross ecosystem productivity and net ecosystem exchange could be reduced by 750 and 400 g C m(-2) yr(-1), respectively. *Hydraulic redistribution mitigated the effects of soil drying on understory and stand evapotranspiration and had important implications for net primary productivity by maintaining this whole ecosystem as a carbon sink.





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Publication Info

Domec, Jean-Christophe, John S King, Asko Noormets, Emrys Treasure, Michael J Gavazzi, Ge Sun and Steven G McNulty (2010). Hydraulic redistribution of soil water by roots affects whole-stand evapotranspiration and net ecosystem carbon exchange. New Phytol, 187(1). pp. 171–183. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03245.x Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10633.

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Jean Christophe Domec

Visiting Professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment

Bordeaux Sciences Agro in FRANCE (primary appointment)

Discovery of knowledge in Plant water relations, ecosystem ecology and ecohydrology, with special focus on: - Long-distance water transport under future climate; - Drought tolerance and avoidance; - Patterns of changes in structural and functional traits within individual plants. My goal as a researcher is to improve the fundamental science understanding of how plants and terrestrial ecosystems respond to climate changes, and to provide tree breeders with policy-relevant information. I have carried out research on interactions between soil water and plant water use in contrasting ecosystems, in cooperation with scientists at Bordeaux Sciences Agro in FRANCE (primary appointment), Duke University, Oregon State University, and the USDA Forest Service, Southern Global Change Program, recently renamed EFETAC (Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center).

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