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Modelling plant water relations and net primary productivity as affected by reclamation cover depth in reclaimed forestlands of northern Alberta

  • N. P. Y. WelegedaraEmail author
  • R. F. Grant
  • Sylvie A. Quideau
  • Simon M. Landhäusser
  • Morgane Merlin
  • E. Lloret
Regular Article
  • 35 Downloads

Abstract

Aims

Success in establishing upland forests on landforms constructed from overburden is determined by the characteristics of the reclamation soil covers and depth. We explored whether an ecosystem model that uses water potential gradients to simulate soil-plant-atmosphere water transfers can be used to forecast effects of water availability on plant water relations and net primary productivity (NPP) with different cover depths in these constructed landforms.

Methods

Plant water relations and growth were simulated with ecosys and tested against measured soil moisture content, rooting depth, transpiration, leaf area and biomass production in three soil cover depths over 5 years.

Results

Shallow reclamation soil cover depth caused greater water potential gradients and less soil water content, tree water uptake and growth to be modelled, consistent with measured data. Modelled transpiration increased nonlinearly with increasing cover depth, indicating a threshold depth above which additional gains in transpiration and hence NPP would be limited.

Conclusions

This study highlights the importance of sufficient cover depth on forest community end-land use re-establishment. It also demonstrated that a terrestrial ecosystem model such as ecosys can be a useful tool in forecasting land capability for reclamation soil covers of different depths and properties under diverse climates.

Keywords

Land reclamation Reclamation cover depth Plant water-use Forest productivity Ecosys 

Abbreviations

ASWC

Available soil water content

AWHC

Available soil water holding capacity

Ca

Ambient CO2 concentration

Cb

Canopy CO2 concentration

Cc

Aqueous CO2 concentration in canopy chloroplasts

Ci

Gaseous CO2 concentration in canopy leaves

DOY

Day of year

Ec

Canopy transpiration

fψ

Non-stomatal effects of plant water status on carboxylation

FC

Field capacity

G

Change in heat storage

gc

Canopy stomatal conductance

GPP

Gross primary productivity

H

Sensible heat flux

K

Hydraulic conductivity

Ksat

Saturated hydraulic conductivity

LAI

Leaf area index

LCCS

Land Capability Classification System for Forest Ecosystems

LE

Latent heat flux

LHS

Left hand side

MARE

Mean absolute relative error

NPP

Net primary productivity

θ

Soil water contents

P

Precipitation

PFT

Plant functional type

PMM

Peat mineral mix

PWP

Permanent wilting point

Ra

Autotrophic respiration

ra

Aerodynamic resistance

rc

Canopy stomatal resistance

rcmin

Minimum canopy resistance

RLD

Root length density

RHS

Right hand side

RMD

Root mass densities

RMSD

Root mean squares for difference

RMSE

Root-mean-squares for error

Rn

Net radiation

SA

Stand sap wood area to ground area ratio

SBH

South Bison Hills

Tc

Canopy temperature

TDR

Time domain reflectometry

Uc

Plant water uptake

Vb

CO2-limited leaf carboxylation rate

Vc

Canopy carboxylation rates

Vg

Leaf CO2 diffusion

WUEP

Water-use efficiency of productivity

Ωs

Soil hydraulic resistances

Ωr

Root hydraulic resistances

ψc

Canopy water potential

ψπι

Canopy osmotic water potential

ψπ

Soil osmotic potential

ψg

Gravitational potential

ψm

Soil matric potential

ψt

Canopy turgor potential

ψs

Soil water potential

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding for the study was provided by the Land Reclamation International Graduate School (LRIGS) at the University of Alberta, the NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program, and Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD). Computational facilities for the modelling project were provided by Compute Canada and WestGrid high performance computing infrastructure, and the University of Alberta. The great support in providing field data by Syncrude Canada limited is very much appreciated and special thanks goes to Marty Yarmuch and Bonnie Drozdowski for providing support to get field data. We would like to acknowledge Jeff Kelly, Frances Leishman, Caren Jones, Cassandra McKenzie, Brittany McAdams, Jela Burkus, Luke Donnan, Kelti Eaton, Melanie Luong for field data acquisition and laboratory assistance.

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4363_MOESM1_ESM.docx (362 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 361 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Laboratoire Génie Civil et géo-Environnement – Université de LilleLilleFrance

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