Long term trends of stand transpiration in a remnant forest during wet and dry years

Melanie J B Zeppel*, Catriona M O Macinnis-Ng, Isa A M Yunusa, Rhys J. Whitley, Derek Eamus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Daily and annual rates of stand transpiration in a drought year and a non-drought year are compared in order to understand the adaptive responses of a remnant woodland to drought and predict the effect of land use change. Two methods were used to estimate stand transpiration. In the first, the ratio of sap velocity of a few trees measured for several hundred days to the mean sap velocity of many trees measured during brief sampling periods (generally 6-7 trees for 5 or 6 days), called the Esv method is used to scale temporally from the few intensive study periods. The second method used was the Penman-Monteith (P-M) equation (called the EPM method). Weather variables and soil moisture were used to predict canopy conductance, which in turn was used to predict daily and annual stand transpiration. Comparisons of daily transpiration estimated with the two methods showed larger values for the EPM method during a drought year and smaller values for the EPM when the rainfall was above average. Generally, though, annual estimates of stand transpiration were similar using the two methods. The Esv method produced an estimate of 318 mm (61% of rainfall) in the drought year and 443 mm (42%) in the year having above average rainfall. The EPM method estimated stand transpiration as 379 mm (73%) and 398 mm (37%), respectively, for the two years. Both estimates of annual stand transpiration demonstrated that the remnant forest showed resilience to an extreme and long-term drought. More importantly, the annual estimates showed that in dry years a larger proportion of rainfall was used as transpiration, and groundwater recharge was absent but in years with above average rainfall recharge was significantly increased. Changes in leaf area index were minimal between years and changes in stomatal conductance were the dominant mechanism for adapting to the drought. The remnant forest rapidly responded to increased water availability after the drought through a new flush of leaves and increased stomatal conductance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Annual water use
  • Heat pulse method
  • Sap flow
  • Stand transpiration
  • Tree water use


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