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Reforestation Based on Mono-Plantation of Fast-Growing Tree Species Make It Difficult to Maintain (High) Soil Water Content in Tropics, a Case Study in Hainan Island, China

by 1,†, 1,†, 1,†, 2,3, 1 and 2,3,*
1
Sanya Academy of Forestry, Sanya 572000, China
2
College of Forestry/Wuzhishan National Long Term Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Research Station, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
3
Key Laboratory of Genetics and Germplasm Innovation of Tropical Special Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants (Hainan University), Ministry of Education, College of Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These three authors contributed equally.
Water 2020, 12(11), 3077; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113077
Received: 20 September 2020 / Revised: 27 October 2020 / Accepted: 28 October 2020 / Published: 3 November 2020
Reforestation has been assumed as a natural solution to recover soil water content, thereby increasing freshwater supply. Mono-plantation of fast-growing species is the first step for performing reforestation to prevent frequent and heavy rain-induced landslide in tropics. However, fast-growing species may have negative hydraulic response to seasonal drought to maintain high growth rate and, thus, may make it difficult for reforestation in tropics to recover soil water content. We tested this hypothesis in a setting involving (a) a reforestation project, which mono-planted eight fast-growing tree species to successfully restore a 0.2-km2 extremely degraded tropical rainforest, and (b) its adjacent undisturbed tropical rainforest in Sanya City, Hainan, China. We found that, for maintaining invariably high growth rates across wet to dry seasons, the eight mono-planted fast-growing tree species had comparable transpiration rates and very high soil water uptake, which in turn led to a large (3 times) reduction in soil water content from the wet to dry seasons in this reforested area. Moreover, soil water content for the adjacent undisturbed tropical rainforest was much higher (1.5 to 5 times) than that for the reforested area in both wet and dry seasons. Thus, the invariably very high water demand from the wet to dry seasons for the mono-planted fast-growing species possesses difficulty in the recovery of soil water content. We suggest, in the next step, to mix many native-species along with the currently planted fast-growing nonnative species in this reforestation project to recover soil water content. View Full-Text
Keywords: deforestation; freshwater scarcity; hydraulic response to seasonal drought; limited leaf water supply; recovery of soil water content; tropical rainforest reforestation deforestation; freshwater scarcity; hydraulic response to seasonal drought; limited leaf water supply; recovery of soil water content; tropical rainforest reforestation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hong, W.; Yang, J.; Luo, J.; Jiang, K.; Xu, J.; Zhang, H. Reforestation Based on Mono-Plantation of Fast-Growing Tree Species Make It Difficult to Maintain (High) Soil Water Content in Tropics, a Case Study in Hainan Island, China. Water 2020, 12, 3077. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113077

AMA Style

Hong W, Yang J, Luo J, Jiang K, Xu J, Zhang H. Reforestation Based on Mono-Plantation of Fast-Growing Tree Species Make It Difficult to Maintain (High) Soil Water Content in Tropics, a Case Study in Hainan Island, China. Water. 2020; 12(11):3077. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113077

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hong, Wenjun; Yang, Jindian; Luo, Jinhuan; Jiang, Kai; Xu, Junze; Zhang, Hui. 2020. "Reforestation Based on Mono-Plantation of Fast-Growing Tree Species Make It Difficult to Maintain (High) Soil Water Content in Tropics, a Case Study in Hainan Island, China" Water 12, no. 11: 3077. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113077

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