Seasonal patterns in water use and leaf turnover of different plant functional types in a species-rich woodland, south-western Australia
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Woodlands in south-western Australia are evergreen and transpire throughout the year despite the long, hot and dry summers of the Mediterranean climate. Results from a case study in a species-rich Banksia woodland are used to discuss the ecological and physiological properties that appear to be essential features of this and similar communities. Tree, shrub and perennial herbaceous species with long-lived leaves dominate the community, whereas winter-green herbaceous species with short-lived leaves constitute a minor group. The total leaf area index is therefore reasonably constant in all seasons. Leaf area index is low and canopies are open, causing good coupling between the vegetation and the atmosphere, and making stomatal control an effective regulator of transpiration. Mean maximum (winter) stomatal conductances were high at approximately 300 mmol m−2 s−1. Deep-rootedness allows the dominant species to access soil moisture throughout the unsaturated zone, and down to the capillary fringe of the saturated zone. Shrubs and herbs with shallow roots experience greater drought stress during summer. Rates of community evapotranspiration are limited by leaf area index in the wet season, and further reduced by stomatal closure in the dry season. Deep-rooted plants appear to decrease their stomatal conductance before the development of severe drought stress. Such conservative behaviour, possibly related to plant hydraulic constraints, is a contributing factor to the limited seasonality in community water use.
- Abrams M D and Menges E S 1992 Leaf ageing and plateau effects on seasonal pressure-volume relationships in three sclerophyllous Quercus species in south-eastern USA. Funct. Ecol. 6, 353–360.
- Beard J S 1984 Biogeography of the kwongan. In Kwongan; Plant Life of the Sandplain. Eds. J S Pate and J S Beard. pp. 1–26. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands.
- Burgess S O, Pate J S, Adams M A and Dawson T E 2000 Seasonal water acquisition and redistribution in the Australian woody phreatophyte, Banksia prionotes. Ann. Bot. 85, 215–224.
- Åarbon B A, Roberts F J, Farrington P and Beresford J D 1982 Deep drainage and water use of forests and pastures grown on deep sands in a Mediterranean environment. J. Hydrol. 55, 53–64.
- Davidson W A 1995 Hydrogeology and groundwater resources of the Perth region, Western Australia. Geological Survey of Western Australia Bulletin 142.
- Dodd J and Bell D T 1993a Water relations of the canopy species in a Banksia woodland, Swan Åoastal Plain, Western Australia. Aust. J. Ecol. 18, 281–293.
- Dodd J and Bell D T 1993b Water relations of understorey shrubs in a Banksia woodland, Swan Åoastal Plain, Western Australia. Aust. J. Ecol. 18, 295–305.
- Dodd J, Heddle E M, Pate J S and Dixon K W 1984 In Kwongan; Plant Life of the Sandplain. Eds. J S Pate and J S Beard. pp. 146–177. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands.
- Eamus D and Prior L 2000 Ecophysiology of trees of seasonally dry tropics: comparisons among phenologies. Adv. Ecol. Res. 32, 113–197.
- Ellis T W, Hatton T J and Nuberg I K 1999 A simple method for estimating recharge from low rainfall agroforestry systems. Proceedings of Envirowater'99, 2nd Inter-regional Åonference on Environment-Water. Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management. Lausanne, Switzerland.
- Farrington P and Bartle G A 1989 Water and chloride balance of Banksia woodland on coastal deep sands of South Western Australia. In Groundwater Recharge. Ed. M L Sharma. pp. 185–196. Balkema, Rotterdam.
- Farrington P, Greenwood E A N, Bartle G A, Beresford J D and Watson G D 1989 Evaporation from Banksia woodland on a groundwater mound. J. Hydrol. 105, 173–186.
- George R J, Nulsen R A, Ferdowsian R and Raper G P 1999 Interactions between trees and groundwaters in recharge and discharge areas – a survey ofWestern Australian sites. Agric. Water Manage. 39, 91–113.
- Groom P K 2002 Seedling water stress response of two sandplain Banksia species differing in ability to tolerate drought. J. Medit. Ecol. 3, 3–9.
- Hatton T J and Nulsen R A 1999 Towards achieving functional ecosystem mimicry with respect to water cycling in southern Australian agriculture. Agrofor. Syst. 45, 203–214.
- Hatton T J, Ruprecht J and George R J 2003 Preclearing hydrology of the Western Australian wheatbelt: target for the future? Plant Soil, 257, 341–356.
- Hutley L B, O'Grady A P and Eamus D 2000 Evapotranspiration from Eucalypt open-forest savanna of Northern Australia. Funct. Ecol. 14, 183–194.
- Jarvis P G and McNaughton K G 1986 Stomatal control of transpiration. Adv. Ecol. Res. 15, 1–49.
- Körner Åh 1995 Leaf diffusive conductances in the major vegetation types of the globe. In Ecophysiology of Photosynthesis. Eds. E-D Schulze and M M Åaldwell. pp. 463–490. Springer, Berlin.
- McArthur W M 1991 Reference Soils of South-Western Australia. Department of Agriculture, Perth, Australia.
- Pate J S and Bell T L 1999 Application of the ecosystem mimic concept to the species-rich Banksia woodlands of Western Australia. Agroforestry Syst. 45, 303–341.
- Rokich D P, Meney K A, Dixon K W and Sivasithamparam K 2001 The impact of soil disturbance on root development in woodland communities in Western Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 49, 169–183.
- Salama R B, Bekele E, Hatton T J, Pollock D W and Lee-Steere N 2002 Sustainable yield of groundwater of the Gnangara Mound, Perth, Western Australia. In Proceedings International Åonference on Balancing the Groundwater Budget, May 2002, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, IAH Australia.
- Salleo S and Lo Gullo M A 1990 Sclerophylly and plant water relations in three Mediterranean Quercus species. Ann. Bot. 65, 259–270.
- Sharma M L, Farrington P and Fernie M 1983 Localised groundwater recharge on the ‘Gnangara Mound', Western Australia. In Papers of the International Åonference on Groundwater and Man, Vol. 1: The Investigation and Assessment of Groundwater Resources. pp. 293–302. Åonference Series No. 8, Australian Water Resources Åouncil.
- Sharma ML and Pionke H B 1984 Estimating groundwater recharge from measurements of environmental tracers in the vadose zone. In Proceedings of the NWWA/US EPA Åonference on Åharacterization and Monitoring of the Vadose (Unsaturated) Zone. Ed. D M Nielsen pp. 799–819. Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Specht R L and Specht A 1989 Åanopy structure in Eucalyptusdominated communities in Australia along climatic gradients. Acta Oecol./ Oecol. Plant. 10, 191–213.
- Thorpe P M 1989 Tritium as an indicator of groundwater recharge to the Gnangara groundwater mound on the Swan Åoastal Plain, Perth, Western Australia. In Groundwater Recharge. Ed. M L Sharma. pp. 41–55. Balkema, Rotterdam.
- Western Australian Herbarium 1998. FloraBase – Information on the Western Australian flora. Department of Åonservation and Land Management. http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/flor abase.html
- White D A, Battaglia M, Macfarlane Å, Mummery D, McGrath J F and Beadle Å L 2003 Selecting species for recharge management in Mediterranean south western Australia – some ecophysiological considerations. Plant Soil 257, 283–293.
- Yates Å J and Hobbs R J 1997 Temperate eucalypt woodlands: a review of their status, processes threatening their persistence and techniques for restoration. Aust. J. Bot. 45, 949–973.
- Zencich S J, Froend R H, Turner J V and Gailitis V 2002 Influence of groundwater depth on the seasonal sources of water accessed by Banksia tree species on a shallow, sandy coastal aquifer. Oecologia 131, 8–19.
- Seasonal patterns in water use and leaf turnover of different plant functional types in a species-rich woodland, south-western Australia
Plant and Soil
Volume 257, Issue 2 , pp 295-304
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- Banksia woodland
- leaf area index
- Mediterranean climate
- plant water status
- water balance
- Industry Sectors