Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
19 Oct 2005
19 Oct 2005

Transpiration of montane Pinus sylvestris L. and Quercus pubescens Willd. forest stands measured with sap flow sensors in NE Spain

R. Poyatos, P. Llorens, and F. Gallart

Abstract. Stand transpiration was measured during the 2003 and 2004 growing seasons using heat dissipation sap flow sensors in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and a pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) forests located in a montane area of the Eastern Pyrenees (NE Spain). The first aim of the study was to assess the differences in quantitative estimates of transpiration (Ec) and the response to evaporative demand of the two stands. Over the studied period of 2003, characterised by a severe drought episode during the summer, the oak stand (Ec was only 110 mm compared to the 239 mm transpired by the Scots pine stand, although the ratio of transpiration to reference evapotranspiration (Ec/ET0) in the oak stand compares well with the expected values predicted for low leaf area index (LAI) oak forests in southern Europe. Scots pine showed a strong reduction in (Ec/ET0 as the drought developed, whereas pubescent oak was less affected by soil moisture deficits in the upper soil. As a second objective, and given the contrasting meteorological conditions between 2003 and 2004 summer periods, the interannual variability of transpiration was studied in the Scots pine plot. Rainfall during the summer months (June-September) in 2003 was almost 40% less than in the same interval in 2004. Accordingly, transpiration was also reduced about 25% in 2003. Finally, Scots pine data from 2003 and 2004 was used to calibrate a simple transpiration model using ET0 and soil moisture deficit (SMD) as input variables, and implicitly including stomatal responses to high vapour pressure deficits (Dd) and soil water status.