Stemflow and its controlling factors in the subshrub Artemisia ordosica during two contrasting growth stages in the Mu Us sandy land of northern China

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The yield of stemflow from vegetation is mostly affected by rainfall and canopy structure, but few past studies have paid attention to the dynamics of canopy structure during the growth season. Artemisia ordosica is a typical subshrub, very different from trees and shrubs. Assessing the influence of canopy structure and rainfall on stemflow yield in A. ordosica during the growth season will fill a knowledge gap in our understanding of stemflow yield from subshrub species. This study therefore examined the effects of those two factors on stemflow at two growth stages of A. ordosica, using 20 experimental individuals in the Mu Us sandy land of northern China. It demonstrated that the mean stemflow percentage of gross rainfall (SF%) for this subshrub was 8.56%, and the average funneling ratio was 75.80. The critical control factors of stemflow volumes were rainfall amount and canopy area, which varied greatly during the growth season. The SF% was significantly lower during the reproductive growth stage than during the vegetative growth stage, because of the rapid increase in leaf area index at the former stage. This evaluation of the effects of vegetation growth dynamics on stemflow yield will improve the accuracy of future hydrological models.

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