30 Aug 2021

30 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Differential response of plant water consumption to rainwater uptake for dominant tree species in the semiarid Loess Plateau

Yakun Tang1, Lina Wang1, Yongqiang Yu1, and Dongxu Lu1,2 Yakun Tang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling, 712100, China

Abstract. Whether uptake of rainwater can increase plant water consumption in response to rainfall pulses requires investigation to evaluate the plant adaptability, especially in water limited regions where rainwater is the only replenishable soil water source. In this study, the water sources from rainwater and three soil layers, predawn (Ψpd), midday (Ψm) and gradient (Ψpd−Ψm) of leaf water potential, and water consumption in response to rainfall pulses were analyzed for two dominant tree species, Hippophae rhamnoides and Populus davidiana, in pure and mixed plantations during the growing period (June–September). In pure plantations, the relative response of daily normalized sap flow (SFR) was significantly affected by rainwater uptake proportion (RUP) and Ψpd−Ψm for H. rhamnoides, and was only significantly influenced by Ψpd−Ψm for P. davidiana (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, the large Ψpd−Ψm was consistent with high SFR for H. rhamnoides, and the small Ψpd−Ψm was consistent with the low SFR for P. davidiana, in response to rainfall pulses. Therefore, H. rhamnoides and P. davidiana exhibited sensitive and insensitive responses to rainfall pulses, respectively. Furthermore, mixed afforestation significantly enhanced RUP, SFR, and reduced the water source proportion from the deep soil layer (100–200 cm) for both species (P < 0.05). The SFR was significantly influenced by RUP and Ψpd−Ψm for both species in the mixed plantation. Lower Ψm and higher Ψpd were adopted by H. rhamnoides and P. davidiana in mixed plantation, respectively, to enlarge Ψpd−Ψm, enhance rainwater uptake, and decrease water source competition from the deep soil layer. These results indicate that mixed afforestation enhanced the influence of rainwater uptake to water consumption after rainfall pulse, regardless of sensitivity to rainfall pulses. This study provides insights into suitable plantation species selection and management considering the link between rainwater uptake and consumption in water limited regions.

Yakun Tang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-351', Jiaping Pang, 07 Sep 2021
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-351', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Sep 2021
  • CC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-351', Ying Zhao, 09 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-351', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Dec 2021

Yakun Tang et al.


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Short summary
Whether rainwater uptake can increase water consumption after rainfall pulses requires investigation. Our results indicated differential response of plant water consumption to rainfall uptake. Mixed afforestation enhances these water relationships, and decreases soil water source competition. Our result suggested that plant species or plantation types can enhance rainwater uptake and reduce water competition should be considered for use in water limited region.