Science Inventory

HYDRAULIC REDISTRIBUTION IN A DOUGLAS-FIR FOREST: LESSONS FROM SYSTEM MANIPULATIONS

Citation:

Brooks, J R., F. C. Meinzer, J. M. Warren, J. C. Domec, AND R. Coulombe. HYDRAULIC REDISTRIBUTION IN A DOUGLAS-FIR FOREST: LESSONS FROM SYSTEM MANIPULATIONS. Presented at 2004 Ecological Society of America meeting, Portland, OR, August 1-6, 2004.

Description:

Hydraulic redistribution (HR) has been shown to slow drying of surface soils during drought in Pacific Northwest forests, but the controls governing this process and its importance to shallow-rooted species are poorly understood. Our objective in this study was to manipulate the soil-root system to tease apart important components of control over HR. We manipulated the system by irrigation, soil trenching, and tree removal to alter competing water sources and sinks. In the irrigation experiment, we applied 2100 liters of 9000 ? deuterated water to a 1 m2 plot over three weeks, and sampled soil and the surrounding vegetation for 36 days. Deuterated water was immediately taken up by the surrounding dominant 25 yr-old Douglas-fir trees and within 7 days was detected in surface soils in front of those trees, but at least 1 m from the watering site. By the end of the sampling period (36 days) deuterated water was detected in soils behind the target trees, and in Oregon grape, blueberries, and small understory hemlocks as much as 4 m away from the watering source. The amount of HR in the upper soil layers at the watering site was twice that of the control, and the amount of water utilized from the upper soil was also increased. Trenching a 2x2 m plot severed a 25 cm diameter root from a nearby dominant Douglas-fir tree. Since this root was no long connected to the main foliage sink for water, HR and soil moisture increased dramatically. To confirm that roots can contribute significant amounts of water to the soil in the absence of the tree, we measured sapflow on several roots on another tree, and then cut down the tree. In some roots we found a dramatic reversal of flow from up the tree to flow out to the surrounding soil. These manipulations highlighted that the magnitude of HR is governed by a competition between shallow roots in dry soil and the aboveground portion of the tree for water taken up by deep roots. Hydraulically redistributed water can move several meters from the original source where it can be utilized by other vegetation.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 08/02/2004
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record ID: 76420

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

WATERSHED ECOLOGY BRANCH