Model analysis of the effects of atmospheric drivers on storage water use in Scots pine
- 1Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
- 2Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Department of Applied Ecology and Environmental Biology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
- 3Institute of Forest Ecology, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Zemědělská 3, 61300 Brno, Czech Republic
- 4Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Ministry of the Flemish Community, Gaverstraat 4, 9500 Geraardsbergen, Belgium
Abstract. Storage water use is an indirect consequence of the interplay between different meteorological drivers through their effect on water flow and water potential in trees. We studied these microclimatic drivers of storage water use in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) growing in a temperate climate. The storage water use was modeled using the ANAFORE model, integrating a dynamic water flow and – storage model with a process-based transpiration model. The model was calibrated and validated with sap flow measurements for the growing season of 2000 (26 May–18 October).
Because there was no severe soil drought during the study period, we were able to study atmospheric effects. Incoming radiation and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) were the main atmospheric drivers of storage water use. The general trends of sap flow and storage water use are similar, and follow more or less the pattern of incoming radiation. Nevertheless, considerable differences in the day-to-day pattern of sap flow and storage water use were observed. VPD was determined to be one of the main drivers of these differences. During dry atmospheric conditions (high VPD) storage water use was reduced. This reduction was higher than the reduction in measured sap flow. Our results suggest that the trees did not rely more on storage water during periods of atmospheric drought, without severe soil drought. The daily minimum tree water content was lower in periods of high VPD, but the reserves were not completely depleted after the first day of high VPD, due to refilling during the night.
Nevertheless, the tree water content deficit was a third important factor influencing storage water use. When storage compartments were depleted beyond a threshold, storage water use was limited due to the low water potential in the storage compartments. The maximum relative contribution of storage water to daily transpiration was also constrained by an increasing tree water content deficit.