Oecologia

, Volume 173, Issue 4, pp 1191–1201 | Cite as

Depth of soil water uptake by tropical rainforest trees during dry periods: does tree dimension matter?

  • Clément Stahl
  • Bruno Hérault
  • Vivien Rossi
  • Benoit Burban
  • Claude Bréchet
  • Damien Bonal
Physiological ecology - Original research

Abstract

Though the root biomass of tropical rainforest trees is concentrated in the upper soil layers, soil water uptake by deep roots has been shown to contribute to tree transpiration. A precise evaluation of the relationship between tree dimensions and depth of water uptake would be useful in tree-based modelling approaches designed to anticipate the response of tropical rainforest ecosystems to future changes in environmental conditions. We used an innovative dual-isotope labelling approach (deuterium in surface soil and oxygen at 120-cm depth) coupled with a modelling approach to investigate the role of tree dimensions in soil water uptake in a tropical rainforest exposed to seasonal drought. We studied 65 trees of varying diameter and height and with a wide range of predawn leaf water potential (Ψpd) values. We confirmed that about half of the studied trees relied on soil water below 100-cm depth during dry periods. Ψpd was negatively correlated with depth of water extraction and can be taken as a rough proxy of this depth. Some trees showed considerable plasticity in their depth of water uptake, exhibiting an efficient adaptive strategy for water and nutrient resource acquisition. We did not find a strong relationship between tree dimensions and depth of water uptake. While tall trees preferentially extract water from layers below 100-cm depth, shorter trees show broad variations in mean depth of water uptake. This precludes the use of tree dimensions to parameterize functional models.

Keywords

Deuterium Oxygen Soil water Tropical rainforest Root 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to J. Cazal, J.-Y. Goret, F. Kwasie, A. Etienne and B. Leudet for their field assistance in collecting leaves and soil samples. We thank P. Petronelli and J. Engel for the taxonomic identifications and C. Hossann for the water extraction work. We thank the handling editor and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a previous version of this manuscript. This study was part of the GUYAFLUX project funded by the French Ministry of Research, INRA, and the CNES, in the framework of the PO-Feder Région Guyane, and was partially funded by an Investissement d’Avenir grant of the ANR (CEBA: ANR-10-LABEX-0025).

References

  1. Améglio T, Archer P, Cohen M, Valancogne C, Daudet FA, Dayau S, Cruiziat P (1999) Significance and limits in the use of predawn leaf water potential for tree irrigation. Plant Soil 207:155–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baraloto C, Morneau F, Bonal D, Blanc L, Ferry B (2007) Seasonal water stress tolerance and habitat associations within four Neotropical tree genera. Ecology 88:478–489PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonal D, Barigah TS, Granier A, Guehl J-M (2000a) Late-stage canopy tree species with extremely low delta C-13 and high stomatal sensitivity to seasonal soil drought in the tropical rainforest of French Guiana. Plant Cell Environ 23:445–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonal D, Atger C, Barigah TS, Ferhi A, Guehl J-M, Ferry B (2000b) Water acquisition patterns of two wet tropical canopy tree species of French Guiana as inferred from H2 18O extraction profiles. Ann For Sci 57:717–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonal D, Bosc A, Ponton S, Goret J-Y, Burban B, Gross P, Bonnefond J-M, Elbers JAN, Longdoz B, Epron D, Guehl J-M, Granier A (2008) Impact of severe dry season on net ecosystem exchange in the Neotropical rainforest of French Guiana. Glob Chang Biol 14:1917–1933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cao KF (2000) Water relations and gas exchange of tropical saplings during a prolonged drought in a Bornean heath forest, with reference to root architecture. J Trop Ecol 16:101–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carvalheiro KO, Nepstad DC (1996) Deep soil heterogeneity and fine root distribution in forests and pastures of eastern Amazonia. Plant Soil 182:279–285Google Scholar
  8. Chmura DJ, Anderson PD, Howe GT, Harrington CA, Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Shaw DC, Brad St Claire J (2011) Forest responses to climate change in the northwestern United States: ecophysiological foundations for adaptive management. For Ecol Manage 261:1121–1142Google Scholar
  9. da Rocha HR, Goulden ML, Miller SD, Menton MC, Pinto LDVO, de Freitas HC, e Silva Figueira AM (2004) Seasonality of water and heat fluxes over a tropical forest in eastern Amazonia. Ecol Appl 14:22–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davidson E, Lefebvre PA, Brando PM, Ray DM, Trumbore SE, Solorzano LA, Ferreira JN, Bustamante MMC, Nepstad DC (2011) Carbon inputs and water uptake in deep soils of an eastern Amazon forest. For Sci 57:51–58Google Scholar
  11. Engelbrecht BMJ, Kursar TA (2003) Comparative drought-resistance of seedlings of 28 species of co-occurring tropical woody plants. Oecologia 136:383–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Engelbrecht BMJ, Wright SJ, De Steven D (2002) Survival and ecophysiology of tree seedlings during El Nino drought in a tropical moist forest in Panama. J Trop Ecol 18:569–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fisher RA, Williams M, Do Vale RL, Da Costa AL, Meir P (2006) Evidence from Amazonian forests is consistent with isohydric control of leaf water potential. Plant Cell Environ 29:151–165PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goulden ML, Miller SD, da Rocha HR, Menton MC, De Freitas HC, Silva Figueira AME, De Sousa CAD (2004) Diel and seasonal patterns of tropical forest CO2 exchange. Ecol Appl 14:42–54Google Scholar
  15. Gourlet-Fleury S, Ferry B, Molino JF, Petronelli P, Schmitt L (2004) Experimental plots: key features. In: Gourlet-Fleury S, Guehl JM, Laroussinie O (eds) Ecology and management of a Neotropical Rainforest. Lessons drawn from Paracou, a long-term experimental research site in French Guiana. Elsevier, Paris, pp 3–60Google Scholar
  16. Huc R, Ferhi A, Guehl JM (1994) Pioneer and late stage tropical rainforest tree species (French Guyana) growing under common conditions differ in leaf gas exchange regulation, carbon isotope discrimination and leaf water potential. Oecologia 99:297–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hutyra LR, Munger JW, Saleska S, Gottlieb E, Daube BC, Dunn AL, Amaral DF, de Camargo PB, Wofsy SC (2007) Seasonal controls on the exchange of carbon and water in an Amazonian rain forest. J Geophys Res 112:G03008. doi:10.1029/2006JG000365 Google Scholar
  18. Jackson RB, Canadell J, Ehleringer JR, Mooney HA, Sala OE, Schulze ED (1996) A global analysis of root distributions for terrestrial biomes. Oecologia 108:389–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jobbagy EG, Jackson RB (2001) The distribution of soil nutrients with depth: global patterns and the imprint of plants. Biogeochemistry 53:51–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kozlowski TT, Pallardy SG (2002) Acclimation and adaptive responses of woody plants to environmental stresses. Bot Rev 68:270–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Malhi Y, Wright J (2004) Spatial patterns and recent trends in the climate of tropical rainforest regions. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B 359:311–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Markewitz D, Devine S, Davidson EA, Brando P, Nepstad DC (2010) Soil moisture depletion under simulated drought in the Amazon: impacts on deep root uptake. New Phytol 187:592–607PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Meinzer FC, Andrade JL, Goldstein G, Holbrook NM, Cavelier J, Wright SJ (1999) Partitioning of soil water among trees in a seasonally dry tropical forest. Oecologia 121:293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Merbold L, Ardo J, Arneth A, Scholes RJ, Nouvellon Y, de Grandcourt A, Archibald S, Bonnefond J-M, Boulain N, Brueggemann N, Bruemmer C, Cappelaere B, Ceschia E, El-Khidir HAM, El-Tahir BA, Falk U, Lloyd J, Kergoat L, Le Dantec V, Mougin E, Muchinda M, Mukelabai MM, Ramier D, Roupsard O, Timouk F, Veenendaal EM, Kutsch WL (2009) Precipitation as driver of carbon fluxes in 11 African ecosystems. Biogeosciences 6:1027–1041CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moreira M, Sternberg L, Nepstad D (2000) Vertical patterns of soil water uptake by plants in a primary forest and an abandoned pasture in the eastern Amazon: an isotopic approach. Plant Soil 222:95–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nepstad DC, De Carvalho CR, Davidson EA, Jipp PH, Lefebvre PA, Negreiros GH, Da Silva ED, Stone TA, Trumbore SE, Vieira S (1994) The role of deep roots in the hydrological and carbon cycles of Amazonian forests and pastures. Nature 372:666–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Oliveira R, Dawson T, Burgess S, Nepstad D (2005) Hydraulic redistribution in three Amazonian trees. Oecologia 145:354–363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Poorter L, Markesteijn L (2008) Seedling traits determine drought tolerance of tropical tree species. Biotropica 40:321–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. R Development Core Team (2010) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  30. Romero-Saltos H, LdSL Sternberg, Moreira MZ, Nepstad DC (2005) Rainfall exclusion in an eastern Amazonian forest alters soil water movement and depth of water uptake. Am J Bot 92:443–455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sobrado MA (1997) Embolism vulnerability in drought-deciduous and evergreen species of a tropical dry forest. Acta Oecol 18:383–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stahl C, Burban B, Bompy F, Jolin ZB, Sermage J, Bonal D (2010) Seasonal variation in atmospheric relative humidity contributes to explaining seasonal variation in trunk circumference of tropical rain-forest trees in French Guiana. J Trop Ecol 26:393–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stahl C, Burban B, Goret J-Y, Bonal D (2011) Seasonal variations in stem CO2 efflux in the Neotropical rainforest of French Guiana. Ann For Sci 68:771–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stahl C, Burban B, Wagner F, Goret J-Y, Bompy F, Bonal D (2013) Influence of seasonal variations in soil water availability on gas exchange of tropical canopy trees. Biotropia 45:155–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sternberg L, Green L, Moreira MZ, Nepstad DC, Martinelli LA, Victoria R (1998) Root distribution in an Amazonian seasonal forest. Plant Soil 205:45–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sternberg L, Moreira M, Nepstad DC (2002) Uptake of water by lateral roots of small trees in an Amazonian tropical forest. Plant Soil 238:151–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wagner F, Hérault B, Stahl C, Bonal D, Rossi V (2011) Modeling water availability for trees in tropical forests. Agric For Meteorol 151:1202–1213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wagner F, Rossi V, Stahl C, Bonal D, Hérault B (2012) Water availability is the main climate driver of Neotropical tree growth. PLoS ONE 7:e34074PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang G, ALO C, Mei R, Sun S (2011) Droughts, hydraulic redistribution, and their impact on vegetation composition in the Amazon forest. Plant Ecol 212:663–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Williams M, Malhi Y, Nobre AD, Rastetter EB, Grace J, Pereira MGP (1998) Seasonal variation in net carbon exchange and evapotranspiration in a Brazilian rainforest: a modelling analysis. Plant Cell Environ 21:953–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yavitt JB, Wright SJ (2001) Drought and irrigation effects on fine root dynamics in a tropical moist forest, Panama. Biotropica 33:421–434Google Scholar
  42. Zapater M, Hossann C, Bréda N, Bréchet C, Bonal D, Granier A (2011) Evidence of hydraulic lift in a young beech and oak mixed forest using 18O soil water labelling. Trees Struct Funct 25:885–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang Y, Tan Z, Song Q, Yu G, Sun X (2010) Respiration controls the unexpected seasonal pattern of carbon flux in an Asian tropical rain forest. Atmos Environ 44:3886–3893CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clément Stahl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruno Hérault
    • 3
    • 4
  • Vivien Rossi
    • 4
  • Benoit Burban
    • 1
  • Claude Bréchet
    • 5
  • Damien Bonal
    • 5
  1. 1.INRAUMR Ecologie des Forêts de GuyaneKourou CedexFrench Guiana
  2. 2.CIRADUMR SELMET Systèmes d’Elevage en Milieux Méditerranéens et TropicauxKourou CedexFrench Guiana
  3. 3.Université des Antilles et de la GuyaneUMR Ecologie des Forêts de GuyaneKourou CedexFrench Guiana
  4. 4.CIRADUMR Ecologie des Forêts de GuyaneKourou CedexFrench Guiana
  5. 5.INRAUMR EEF 1137ChampenouxFrance

Personalised recommendations