Ecophysiological variation of transpiration of pine forests: synthesis of new and published results
Canopy transpiration (EC) is a large fraction of evapotranspiration, integrating physical and biological processes within the energy, water, and carbon cycles of forests. Quantifying EC is of both scientific and practical importance, providing information relevant to questions ranging from energy partitioning to ecosystem services, such as primary productivity and water yield. We estimated EC of four pine stands differing in age and growing on sandy soils. The stands consisted of two wide-ranging conifer species: Pinus taeda and Pinus sylvestris, in temperate and boreal zones, respectively. Combining results from these and published studies on all soil types, we derived an approach to estimate daily EC of pine forests, representing a wide range of conditions from 35° S to 64° N latitude. During the growing season and under moist soils, maximum daily EC (ECm) at day-length normalized vapor pressure deficit of 1 kPa (ECm-ref) increased by 0.55 ± 0.02 (mean ± SE) mm/d for each unit increase of leaf area index (L) up to L = ~5, showing no sign of saturation within this range of quickly rising mutual shading. The initial rise of ECm with atmospheric demand was linearly related to ECm-ref. Both relations were unaffected by soil type. Consistent with theoretical prediction, daily EC was sensitive to decreasing soil moisture at an earlier point of relative extractable water in loamy than sandy soils. Our finding facilitates the estimation of daily EC of wide-ranging pine forests using remotely sensed L and meteorological data. We advocate an assembly of worldwide sap flux database for further evaluation of this approach.