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Sap flow characteristics and physiological adjustments of two dominant tree species in pure and mixed plantations in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China

  • Yakun Tang
  • Xu Wu
  • Yunming Chen
Article

Abstract

It is essential to understand the water consumption characteristics and physiological adjustments of tree species under drought conditions, as well as the effects of pure and mixed plantations on these characteristics in semi-arid regions. In this study, the normalized sap flow (SFn), leaf water potential, stomatal conductance (gs), and photosynthetic rate (Pr) were monitored for two dominant species, i.e., Pinus tabuliformis and Hippophae rhamnoides, in both pure and mixed plantations in a semi-arid region of Chinese Loess Plateau. A threshold-delay model showed that the lower rainfall thresholds (RL) for P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides in pure plantations were 9.6 and 11.0 mm, respectively, and the time lags (τ) after rainfall were 1.15 and 1.76 d for corresponding species, respectively. The results indicated that P. tabuliformis was more sensitive to rainfall pulse than H. rhamnoides. In addition, strong stomatal control allowed P. tabuliformis to experience low gs and Pr in response to drought, while maintaining a high midday leaf water potential (Ψm). However, H. rhamnoides maintained high gs and Pr at a low Ψm expense. Therefore, P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides can be considered as isohydric and anisohydric species, respectively. In mixed plantation, the values of RL for P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides were 6.5 and 8.9 mm, respectively; and the values of τ were 0.86 and 1.61 d for corresponding species, respectively, which implied that mixed afforestation enhanced the rainfall pulse sensitivity for both two species, especially for P. tabuliformis. In addition, mixed afforestation significantly reduced SFn, gs, and Pr for P. tabuliformis (P<0.05), while maintaining a high leaf water potential status. However, no significant effect of mixed afforestation of H. rhamnoides was observed at the expense of leaf water potential status in response to drought. Although inconsistent physiological responses were adopted by these species, the altered water consumption characteristics, especially for P. tabuliformis indicated that the mixed afforestation requires further investigation.

Keywords

normalized sap flow physiological adjustments mixed afforestation Pinus tabuliformis Hippophae rhamnoides Loess Plateau 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0604801), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41501576), the China Special Fund for Meteorological Research in the Public Interest (Major projects) (GYHY201506001-3), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2452016105).

Supplementary material

40333_2018_27_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (130 kb)
Fig. S1 Schematic of the local neighborhood for 6 pairs of selected P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides individuals in mixed plantation. A distance of 2 m was measured from center of the trunk to the edge of canopy for each P. tabuliformis individual, and the number (1–6) around P. tabuliformis individual was the same tree individual number in Table 1 in mixed plantation.

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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Water ResourcesYanglingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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