European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 130, Issue 5, pp 695–706 | Cite as

Transpiration of a hybrid poplar plantation in Saxony (Germany) in response to climate and soil conditions

  • Rainer PetzoldEmail author
  • Kai Schwärzel
  • Karl-Heinz Feger
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to investigate transpiration and its main driving factors on the example of a hybrid poplar plantation with the clone Populus maximowiczii × P. nigra, cv. Max 1 on a site in the hilly loess region of Saxony (Germany). Transpiration was measured using sap flow techniques during the 2007 and 2008 growing season. At the same time, throughfall, soil moisture dynamics and soil physical properties were also measured. Total transpiration rates amounted to 486 mm and 463 mm, respectively, during the 2 years. Maximum daily transpiration rates reached 6.7 mm/day, while an average of 2.2 mm/day for the entire growing season was recorded. The main controlling factors for stand transpiration included the evaporative demand, water availability and soil temperature. The information was implemented into a simple empirical model for the prediction of transpiration. It can be concluded that large-scale establishment of poplar plantations will result in a distinct reduction in groundwater recharge. On the other hand, surface run-off and soil erosion may decrease. Due to limited water availability in the late growing season, the growth potential of the tested clone cannot fully be exploited at many sites in Germany.


Evapotranspiration Soil water Poplar Plantation Sap flow 



Potential evapotranspiration over grass


Leaf area index


Root extractable water [fraction]


Stand transpiration


Stand transpiration normalised by LAI


Soil temperature



We like to express our thanks to J. Kučera (Brno) for his introduction to sap flow techniques and fruitful discussions, U. Haferkorn (Lysimeter station Brandis) and the Department of Meteorology, TU Dresden for providing additional lysimeter and eddy-flux data. The study was financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, project AGROWOOD - 0330710 A).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Petzold
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kai Schwärzel
    • 1
  • Karl-Heinz Feger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Soil Science and Site EcologyTechnische Universität DresdenTharandtGermany

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