The extrapolation of the leaf area-based transpiration of two xerophytic shrubs in a revegetated desert area in the Tengger Desert, China

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Plant transpiration plays a key role in sand-binding zones, but obtaining accurate estimates at an integrated leaf-individual-canopy scale is difficult. In this study, transpiration rates of two typical xerophytic shrubs, Caragana korshinskii and Artemisia ordosica, were investigated during the growing season (April–October) from 2008 to 2012 in the Tengger Desert, a revegetated desert area in China. Gas exchange techniques, sap flow measurements, and the crop evapotranspiration minus micro-lysimeter method were used to evaluate plant transpiration. Transpiration data were subsequently compared with the dynamical normalized leaf area-based extrapolation. The results indicated that at leaf level, the transpiration rates of C. korshinskii and A. ordosica were 2.67 and 4.51 mmol H2O m−2s−1, respectively. The sap flow rates were 0.071 and 0.086 g h−1cm−2 at the tree level, and the transpiration rates were 0.42 and 0.35 mm d−1 at the stand level. The total seasonal transpiration of the two xerophytic shrubs reached 71.79 and 55.62 mm, representing approximately 48.4 and 37.5% of the total rainfall over this period. Direct measurements of plant transpiration and upscaling transpiration from leaf level to the stand level exhibited good correspondence, which verified that leaf area was a reliable representation of scaled transpiration, especially in arid desert regions.

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