, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 79-87

First online:

Environmental regulation of surface conductance for evaporation from vegetation

  • E.-D. SchulzeAffiliated withLehrstuhl Pflanzenökologie, Universität Bayreuth
  • , R. LeuningAffiliated withCSIRO Centre for Environmental Mechanics
  • , F. M. KelliherAffiliated withManaaki Whenua-Landcare Research

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We examine conductances for evaporation from both vegetation and soil in response to environmental variables. Data from a vertically-structured pristine forest of Nothofagus are presented as an example of the effects of biodiversity on the scaling of conductances between tiers of plant organisation. Available data sets of maximum leaf stomatal conductances (g lmax ) and bulk vegetation surface conductances (G smax ) are compared. Overall, the ratio G smax /g lmax is consistently close to 3 for seven major vegetation types of diverse structure. An analytical model accounts for this close relationship, and in particular how G smax is conservative against changes in leaf area index because of the compensating decrease in plant canopy transpiration and increase in soil evaporation as leaf area index diminishes. The model is also successfully tested by comparison with canopy conductances of emergent trees measured in the Nothofagus forest. The constraint of vegetation surface conductance and evaporation via environmental regulation by irradiance, air saturation deficit and root zone water supply are discussed.

Key words

Canopy Evaporation Leaf area index Scaling Surface conductance Stomata