Wetlands

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 725–734 | Cite as

Water-Use Dynamics of an Invasive Reed, Arundo donax, from Leaf to Stand

Article

Abstract

We investigated water use of an invasive riparian reed species, Arundo donax (L.), along moisture gradients to determine how extensively this plant might affect water resources. On an approximately 250 m stretch of the Lower Rio Grande in South Texas, we measured the gas exchange of water vapor at the leaf scale and structural characteristics, such as leaf area and shoot density, at the stand scale. To assess the effect of water availability, we used transects perpendicular to the edge of the river along a potential moisture gradient. Stands of A. donax used approximately 8.8 ± 0.9 mm of water per day during the peak of the 2008 growing season; this rate of water use is at the high end of the spectrum for plants. Transpiration and leaf area index varied with water availability, which suggests this plant is sensitive to drought and declining water tables. This provides a baseline for future studies comparing water use between A. donax and other plant species, especially native species considered in riparian restoration efforts.

Keywords

Ecohydrology Ecophysiology Giant reed Invasive species Riparian vegetation Scaling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for this project was provided by the Rio Grande Basin Initiative via the United States Department of Agriculture under Agreement No. 2005-34461-15661 and Agreement No. 2005-45049-03209 and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service via the Arundo Biological Control Program. We are grateful to John Goolsby for technical assistance and for providing housing at Moore Air Base, Tom Boutton for use of the Stable Isotope Lab, and to Laura Martin and Kira Zhaurova for assisting with data collection.

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecology Intercollege Graduate Degree ProgramThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, MS 2138Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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