, Volume 100, Issue 1–2, pp 21–28 | Cite as

Sources of water used by riparian Eucalyptus camaldulensis overlying highly saline groundwater

  • Lisa J. Mensforth
  • Peter J. Thorburn
  • Steve D. Tyerman
  • Glen R. Walker
Original Paper


Water sources of Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehn. trees were investigated on a semiarid floodplain in south-eastern Australia. The trees investigated ranged in distance from 0.5 to 40 m from a stream, with electrical conductivity 0.8 dSm−1, and grew over groundwater with electrical conductivity ranging from 30 to 50 dSm−1. The sources of water being used by the trees were investigated using the naturally occurring stable isotopes of water and measurements of soil water potential. Xylem water potential and leaf conductance were also examined to identify the trees' response to using these sources of water. Trees at distances greater than about 15 m from the stream used no stream water. The trees used groundwater in summer and a combination of groundwater and rain-derived surface-soil water (0.05–0.15 m depth) in winter. In doing so they suffered water stress at electrical conductivities higher than approximately 40 dSm−1 (equivalent to approximately −1.4 MPa). Trees adjacent to the stream used stream water directly in summer, but may have used stream water from the soil profile in winter, after the stream had risen and recharged the soil water. E. camaldulensis appeared to be partially opportunistic in the sources of water they used.

Key words

Stable water isotopes Groundwater Water sources Eucalyptus camaldulensis Salinity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa J. Mensforth
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter J. Thorburn
    • 1
  • Steve D. Tyerman
    • 2
  • Glen R. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Water ResourcesCentre for Groundwater StudiesGlen OsmondAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological ScienceFlinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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