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Forests 2018, 9(4), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040201

Improved Water Consumption Estimates of Black Locust Plantations in China’s Loess Plateau

1
Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), United Nations University, 01067 Dresden, Germany
2
Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Technische Universität Dresden, 01737 Tharandt, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Afforestation and Reforestation: Drivers, Dynamics, and Impacts)
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Abstract

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a major tree species in China’s large-scale afforestation. Despite its significance, black locust is underrepresented in sap flow literature; moreover, the published water consumption data might be biased. We applied two field methods to estimate water consumption of black locust during the growing seasons in 2012 and 2013. The application of Granier’s original sap flow method produced a very low transpiration rate (0.08 mm d−1) while the soil water balance method yielded a much higher rate (1.4 mm d−1). A dye experiment to determine the active sapwood area showed that only the outermost annual ring is responsible for conducting water, which was not considered in many previous studies. Moreover, an in situ calibration experiment was conducted to improve the reliability of Granier’s method. Validation showed a good agreement in estimates of the transpiration rate between the different methods. It is known from many studies that black locust plantations contribute to the significant decline of discharge in the Yellow River basin. Our estimate of tree transpiration at stand scale confirms these results. This study provides a basis for and advances the argument for the development of more sustainable forest management strategies, which better balance forest-related ecosystem services such as soil conservation and water supply. View Full-Text
Keywords: afforestation; heat dissipation probes; in situ calibration; soil water balance; transpiration; dye tests; ring-porous trees afforestation; heat dissipation probes; in situ calibration; soil water balance; transpiration; dye tests; ring-porous trees
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Schwärzel, K.; Zhang, L.; Strecker, A.; Podlasly, C. Improved Water Consumption Estimates of Black Locust Plantations in China’s Loess Plateau. Forests 2018, 9, 201.

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