Paired comparison of water, energy and carbon exchanges over two young maritime pine stands (Pinus pinaster Ait.)

Effects of thinning and weeding in the early stage of tree growth

Virginie Moreaux*, Éric Lamaud, Alexandre Bosc, Jean Marc Bonnefond, Belinda E. Medlyn, Denis Loustau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of management practices on energy, water and carbon exchanges were investigated in a young pine plantation in south-west France. In 2009-10, carbon dioxide (CO 2), H 2O and heat fluxes were monitored using the eddy covariance and sap flow techniques in a control plot (C) with a developed gorse layer, and an adjacent plot that was mechanically weeded and thinned (W). Despite large differences in the total leaf area index and canopy structure, the annual net radiation absorbed was only 4 lower in plot W. We showed that higher albedo in this plot was offset by lower emitted long-wave radiation. Annual evapotranspiration (ET) from plot W was 15 lower, due to lower rainfall interception and transpiration by the tree canopy, partly counterbalanced by the larger evaporation from both soil and regrowing weedy vegetation. The drainage belowground from plot W was larger by 113mm annually. The seasonal variability of ET was driven by the dynamics of the soil and weed layers, which was more severely affected by drought in plot C. Conversely, the temporal changes in pine transpiration and stem diameter growth were synchronous between sites despite higher soil water content in the weeded plot. At the annual scale, both plots were carbon sinks, but thinning and weeding reduced the carbon uptake by 73: annual carbon uptake was 243 and 65g Cm -2 on plots C and W, respectively. Summer drought dramatically impacted the net ecosystem exchange: plot C became a carbon source as the gross primary production (GPP) severely decreased. However, plot W remained a carbon sink during drought, as a result of decreases in both GPP and ecosystem respiration (R E). In winter, both plots were carbon sources, plots C and W emitting 67.5 and 32.4g Cm -2, respectively. Overall, this study highlighted the significant contribution of the gorse layer to mass and energy exchange in young pine plantations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-921
Number of pages19
JournalTree physiology
Volume31
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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