Articles | Volume 6, issue 12
11 Dec 2009
 | 11 Dec 2009

Simultaneous measurements of CO2 and water exchanges over three agroecosystems in South-West France

P. Stella, E. Lamaud, Y. Brunet, J.-M. Bonnefond, D. Loustau, and M. Irvine

Abstract. During the last few decades, many studies have been performed to determine water and carbon budgets of broadleaf and deciduous forests, crops and grasslands. However, since most measurements have been made in different regions and at different periods, it is difficult to compare the results directly. In order to evaluate accurately the respective contribution of various agroecosystems to global water and carbon exchanges, it is necessary to compare data obtained in similar climatic and weather conditions. To address this question, we present the results from simultaneous measurements carried out during one year over three typical agroecosystems of the Les Landes region in South-West France:~an agricultural field with maize from 29 May to 18 October, a young (5 year-old) pine forest and a mature (37 year-old) pine forest. All measurements were collected as part of the Regional Experiment component of the CarboEurope-IP project. During most of the year, the agricultural field without vegetation is a source of CO2, but from late June to early September the maize crop becomes a stronger carbon sink than the forests. Over the whole measurement period the three agroecosystems behave as CO2 sinks with carbon storage of about 335, 210 and 160 g C m−2 for the young forest, the mature forest and the agricultural field, respectively. We investigated the influence of climatic conditions on Gross Primary Production (GPP) of the three ecosystems and observed a predominant role of vapour pressure deficit (VPD) for forests and of photosynthetic photon flux density (FPP) for maize. Daily Water Use Efficiencies (WUE) of the three ecosystems were evaluated and expressed as functions of the mean daily vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Similar trends were observed for the two forests, which suggests that for a given species WUE is independent of stand age. The WUE of the maize crop at maturity was also found to depend upon VPD, but it is about twice as large as for the forests, owing to the physiological advantages of C4 species.

Final-revised paper