Bayreuther Institut für Terrestrische Ökosystemforschung
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Köstner, B; Biron, P; Siegwolf, R; Granier, A: Estimates of water vapor flux and canopy conductance of Scots pine at the tree level utilizing different xylem sap flow methods, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 53, 105-113 (1996)
During the Hartheim Experiment (HartX) 1992 conducted in the upper Rhine Valley, Germany, three different methods were used to measure sap flow in Scots pine trees via heating of water transported in the xylem: (1) constant heating applied radially in the sapwood ("Granier-system" - G), (2) constant heating of a stem segment ("Cermák-system" - C), and (3) regulated variable heating of a stem segment that locally maintains a constant temperature gradient in the trunk ("Cermák/Schulze-system" - CS). While the constant heating methods utilize changes in the induced temperature gradient to quantify sap flux, the CS-system estimates water flow from the variable power requirement to maintain a 2 or 3 degree Kelvin temperature gradient over a short distance between inserted electrodes and reference point. The C- and CS-systems assume that all transported water is encompassed and equally heated by the electrodes. In this case, flux rate is determined from temperature difference or energy input and the heat capacity of water. Active sapwood area need not be determined exactly. In contrast, the G-system requires an empirical calibration of the sensors that allows conversion of temperature difference into sap flow density. Estimates of sapwood area are used to calculate the total flux. All three methods assume that the natural fluctuation in temperature of the trunk near the point of insertion of heating and sensing elements is the same as that where reference thermocouples are inserted.Using all three systems, 24 trees were simultaneously monitored during the HartX campaign. Tree size within the stand ranged between 18 and 61 cm circumference at breast height, while sample trees ranged between 24 and 55 cm circumference. The smallest trees could only be measured by utilizing the G-system. Sap flow rates of individual trees measured at breast height increased rapidly in the morning along with increases in irradiance and vapor pressure deficit (D), decreased slowly during the course of the afternoon with continued increase in D, and decreased more slowly during the night. Ignoring potential effects introduced by the different methods, maximum flow rates of individual trees ranged between 0.5 and 2.5 kg H2O h-1 tree-1 or 0.3 and 0.6 mm h-1 related to projected crown area of trees and daily sums of sap flow for individual trees varied between 4.4 and 24 kg H2O tree-1 d-1 or 1.1 and 6.0 mm d-1. Maximum sap flow rates per sapwood area of trees varied least for the G-system (11-17 g cm-2 h-1) and was of similar magnitude as the C- (8-21 g cm-2 h-1) and CS-system (4-14 g cm-2 h-1).Regressions of total tree conductance (gt) derived from sap flow estimates demonstrated the same linear increase of conductance with increasing irradiance, however decrease of conductance with increasing D under non-limiting light conditions was different for the three systems with strongest reduction of gt measured with the CS-system followed by the C- and G-system. This led to different estimates of daily sap flow rates especially during the second part of the measurement period.Variation in sap flow rates is explained on the basis of variation in leaf area index of individual trees, heterogeneity in soil conditions, and methodological differences in sap flow measurements. Despite the highly uniform plantation forest at the scale of hectares, the heterogeneity in tree size and soil depth at the scale of square meters still make it difficult to appropriately and efficiently select sample trees and to scale-up water flux from individual trees to the stand level.
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