Advertisement

Ecological Research

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 897–906 | Cite as

Conservation of water cycle on land via restoration of natural closed-canopy forests: implications for regional landscape planning

  • Anastassia M. Makarieva
  • Victor G. Gorshkov
  • Bai-Lian Li
Special Issue Global changes in terrestrial ecosystems

Abstract

Investigating the role of forests for maintenance of the water cycle on land is critically important in the current situation of rapid global elimination of the natural vegetation cover. In this paper we contribute to the on-going discussion of the issue with two aspects. (1) Theoretical consideration of the water cycle on land reveals the importance of correct identification of independent and dependent terms in the water budget with respect to changing vegetation cover for understanding possible scenarios of water cycle change under anthropogenic impact. An important controlling influence of the vegetation cover is imposed on the outgoing fluxes of atmospheric moisture A from land to the ocean, which is maximized in deserts and minimized in forested areas, while the dependencies for runoff and precipitation are the reverse. (2) Physical mechanisms allowing for efficient water retention and minimization of A in forest ecosystems are investigated. Atmospheric water vapor is in aerostatic equilibrium when the temperature lapse rate is less than G = 1.9 K km−1 and out of aerostatic equilibrium when G > 1.9 K km−1. In the former case there are no vertical upward fluxes of the evaporated water. It is shown that the temperature profiles developed under the closed canopies of natural forests keep water vapor in aerostatic equilibrium preventing soil moisture loss to A , in contrast to the situation in open ecosystems like grasslands. The analyzed evidence allows one to conclude that an intensive water cycle on land can be restored after recovery of natural, self-sustained closed canopy ecosystems on continent-wide areas.

Keywords

Forest canopy Lapse rate Temperature Humidity Water cycle Water vapour Hydrostatic equlibrium 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank AD Nobre, M Hodnett, J Tomasella, LA Cuartas, C Nobre and MD Oyama for discussion of the various aspects of the problem of vegetation impact on the terrestrial water cycle. Comments of an anonymous referee are sincerely acknowledged. Special thanks are due to DD Breshears for most helpful suggestions with regard to the manuscript’s structure. This work was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the University of California Agricultural Experiment Station (BLL).

References

  1. Acevedo OC, Moraes OLL, da Silva R, Fitzjarrald DR, Sakai RK, Staebler RM, Czikowsky MJ (2004) Inferring nocturnal surface fluxes from vertical profiles of scalars in an Amazon pasture. Glob Change Biol 10:886–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreae MO, Rosenfeld D, Artaxo P, Costa AA, Frank GP, Longo KM, Silva-Dias MAF (2004) Smoking rain clouds over the Amazon. Science 303:1337–1342CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Arora V (2005) Comment on ‘‘Optimized stomatal conductance of vegetated land surfaces and its effects on simulated productivity and climate’’ by A. Kleidon. Geophys Res Lett 32:L08708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Austin AT, Sala OE (2002) Carbon and nitrogen dynamics across a natural precipitation gradient in Patagonia, Argentina. J Veget Sci 13:351–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baerlocher F (1990) The Gaia hypothesis: a fruitful fallacy? Experientia 46:232–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowman DMJS (2002) The Australian summer monsoon: a biogeographic perspective. Aust Geogr Stud 40:261–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Breshears DD, Nyhan JW, Heil CE, Wilcox BP (1998) Effects of woody plants on microclimate in a semiarid woodland: soil temperature and evaporation in canopy and intercanopy patches. Int J Plant Sci 159:1010–1017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bruijnzeel LA (2001) Hydrology of tropical mountain cloud forests: a reassessment. Land Use Water Resour Res 1:1–18Google Scholar
  9. Bryant D, Nielsen D, Tangley L (1997) The last frontier forests: ecosystems and economies on the edge. World Resources Institute, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Cochrane MA, Alencar A, Schulze MD, Souza CM, Nepstad DC, Lefebvre P, Davidson EA (1999) Positive feedbacks in the fire dynamic of closed canopy tropical forests. Science 284:1832–1835CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cowling SA (2004) Tropical forest structure: a missing dimension to Pleistocene landscapes. J Quat Sci 19:733–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dai A, Trenberth KE (2002) Estimates of freshwater discharge from continents: latitudinal and seasonal variations. J Hydrometeorol 3:660–687Google Scholar
  13. da Rocha HR, Goulden ML, Miller SD, Menton MC, Pinto LDVO, de Freitas HC, Silva Figueira AME (2004) Seasonality of water and heat fluxes over a tropical forest in eastern Amazonia. Ecol Appl 14(Suppl):S22–S32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doolittle WF (1981) Is nature really Motherly? CoEvolution Quat 29:58–63Google Scholar
  15. Eagelson PS (2002) Ecohydrology: Darwinian expression of vegetation form and function. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  16. Eltahir EAB, Bras RL (1996) Precipitation recycling. Rev Geophys 34:367–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Engel VC, Stieglitz M, Williams M, Griffin KL (2002) Forest canopy hydraulic properties and catchment water balance: observations and modeling. Ecol Mod 154:263–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gorshkov VG (1984) Ecology of man. Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, LeningradGoogle Scholar
  19. Gorshkov VG (1995) Physical and biological bases of life stability. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg NewyorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Gorshkov VG, Gorshkov VV, Makarieva AM (2000) Biotic regulation of the environment: key issue of global change. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg NewyorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Gorshkov VG, Makarieva AM (2006) Biotic pump of atmospheric moisture, its links to global atmospheric circulation and implications for conservation of the terrestrial water cycle. Preprint 2655. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Gatchina, pp 47Google Scholar
  22. Gorshkov VG, Makarieva AM, Gorshkov VV (2004) Revising the fundamentals of ecological knowledge: the biota–environment interaction. Ecol Complexity 1:17–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gorshkov VG, Makarieva AM, Pujol T (2002) Radiative-convective processes and changes of the flux of thermal radiation into space with increasing optical thickness of the atmosphere. Proceedings of the XXXVI Winter School of Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Nuclear and Particle Physics, pp 499–525Google Scholar
  24. Hayward B (2005) From the mountain to the tap: how land use and water management can work for the rural poor. Rowe the Printers, HayleGoogle Scholar
  25. Kaimowitz D (2005) Forests and water: a policy perspective. J For Res 9:289–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Karlsson IM (2000) Nocturnal air temperature variations between forest and open areas. J Appl Met 39:851–862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Koren I, Kaufman YJ, Remer LA, Martins JV (2004) Measurement of the effect of Amazon smoke on inhibition of cloud formation. Science 303:1342–1345CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kruijt B, Malhi Y, Lloyd J, Nobre AD, Miranda AC, Pereira MGP, Culf A, Grace J (2000) Turbulence statistics above and within two Amazon rain forest canopies. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 94:297–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lyons TJ (2002) Clouds prefer native vegetation. Meteorol Atmos Phys 80:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mahrt L, Lee X, Black A, Neumann H, Staebler RM (2000) Nocturnal mixing in a forest subcanopy. Agr For Met 101:67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Makarieva AM, Gorshkov VG, Losev KS, Dovgalyuk YA (2004) Dependence of greenhouse effect on the concentration of greenhouse components in the Earth atmosphere in the presence of non-radiative energy flows. Trans Earth Sci Sect Russ Acad Nat Sci 12:125–135Google Scholar
  32. Makarieva AM, Gorshkov VG, Pujol T (2003) Height of convective layer in planetary atmospheres with condensable and non-condensable greenhouse substances. Atmos Chem Phys Discuss 3:6701–6720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marengo JA (2005) Characteristics and spatio-temporal variability of the Amazon river basin water budget. Clim Dyn 24:11–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Martius C, Höfer H, Garcia MVB, Römbke J, Förster B, Hanagarth W (2004) Microclimate in agroforestry systems in central Amazonia: does canopy closure matter to soil organisms? Agrofor Syst 60:291–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mitchell J (1989) The “greenhouse” effect and climate change. Rev Geophys 27:115–139Google Scholar
  36. Nepstad D, Lefebvre P, da Silva UL, Tomasella J, Schlesinger P, Solórzano L, Moutinho P, Ray D, Benito JG (2004) Amazon drought and its implications for forest flammability and tree growth: a basin-wide analysis. Glob Change Biol 10:704–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nicholson SE (2000) The nature of rainfall variability over Africa on time scales of decades to millenia. Glob Planet. Change 26:137–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pielke RA (2001) Influence of the spatial distribution of vegetation and soils on the prediction of cumulus convective rainfall. Rev Geophys 39:151–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Raval A, Ramanathan V (1989) Observational determination of the greenhouse effect. Nature 342:758–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rodríguez-Iturbe I (2000) Ecohydrology: a hydrological perspective of climate–soil–vegetation dynamics. Water Resour Res 23:349–357Google Scholar
  41. Rodríguez-Iturbe I, Porporato A (2004) Ecohydrology of water controlled ecosystems: soil moisture and plant dynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenfeld D, Rudich Y, Lahav R (2001) Desert dust suppressing precipitation: a possible desertification feedback loop. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:5975–5980CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Savenije HHG (1995) New definitions for moisture recycling and the relationship with land-use change in the Sahel. J Hydrol 167:57–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shuttleworth WJ (1989) Micrometeorology of temperate and tropical forest. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B 324:207–228Google Scholar
  45. Shuttleworth WJ, Gash JHC, Lloyd CR, Moore CJ, Roberts J, Marques-Filho AO, Fisch G, Filho VPS, Ribeiro MNG, Molion LCB, Sá LDA, Nobre JCA, Cabral OMR, Patel SR, Carvalho JM (1985) Daily variations of temperature and humidity within and above Amazonian forest. Weather 40:102–108Google Scholar
  46. Szarzynski J, Anhuf D (2001) Micrometeorological conditions and canopy energy exchanges of a neotropical rain forest (Surumoni-Crane Project, Venezuela). Plant Ecol 153:231–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Watson FGR, Vertessy RA, Grayson RB (1999) Large scale modelling of forest hydrological processes and their long-term effect on water yield. Hydrol Process 13:689–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weaver CP, Ramanathan V (1995) Deductions from a simple climate model: factors governing surface temperature and atmospheric thermal structure. J Geophys Res 100D:11585–11591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wentz FJ, Schabel M (2000) Precise climate monitoring using complementary satellite data sets. Nature 403:414–416CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Zeller KF, Nikolov NT (2000) Quantifying simultaneous fluxes of ozone, carbon dioxide and water vapor above a subalpine forest ecosystem. Environ Pollut 107:1–20CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhang L, Dawes WR, Walker GR (2001) Response of mean annual evapotranspiration to vegetation changes at catchment scale. Water Resour Res 37:701–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zimmermann R, Schulze E-D, Wirth C, Schulze E-E, McDonald K, Vygodskaya N, Ziegler W (2000) Canopy transpiration in a chronosequence of Central Siberian pine forests. Glob Change Biol 6:25–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastassia M. Makarieva
    • 1
  • Victor G. Gorshkov
    • 1
  • Bai-Lian Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Theoretical Physics Division, Petersburg Nuclear Physics InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesGatchina, St PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Ecological Complexity and Modeling Laboratory, Department of Botany and Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations