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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (6): 833-849    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0027-9
Research article     
Sap flow characteristics and physiological adjustments of two dominant tree species in pure and mixed plantations in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China
Yakun TANG1, Xu WU2,3, Yunming CHEN1,*()
1 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling712100, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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It is essential to understand the water consumption characteristics and physiological adjustments of tree species under drought conditions, as well as the effects of pure and mixed plantations on these characteristics in semi-arid regions. In this study, the normalized sap flow (SFn), leaf water potential, stomatal conductance (gs), and photosynthetic rate (Pr) were monitored for two dominant species, i.e., Pinus tabuliformis and Hippophae rhamnoides, in both pure and mixed plantations in a semi-arid region of Chinese Loess Plateau. A threshold-delay model showed that the lower rainfall thresholds (RL) for P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides in pure plantations were 9.6 and 11.0 mm, respectively, and the time lags (τ) after rainfall were 1.15 and 1.76 d for corresponding species, respectively. The results indicated that P. tabuliformis was more sensitive to rainfall pulse than H. rhamnoides. In addition, strong stomatal control allowed P. tabuliformis to experience low gs and Pr in response to drought, while maintaining a high midday leaf water potential (Ψm). However, H. rhamnoides maintained high gs and Pr at a low Ψm expense. Therefore, P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides can be considered as isohydric and anisohydric species, respectively. In mixed plantation, the values of RL for P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides were 6.5 and 8.9 mm, respectively; and the values of τ were 0.86 and 1.61 d for corresponding species, respectively, which implied that mixed afforestation enhanced the rainfall pulse sensitivity for both two species, especially for P. tabuliformis. In addition, mixed afforestation significantly reduced SFn, gs, and Pr for P. tabuliformis (P<0.05), while maintaining a high leaf water potential status. However, no significant effect of mixed afforestation of H. rhamnoides was observed at the expense of leaf water potential status in response to drought. Although inconsistent physiological responses were adopted by these species, the altered water consumption characteristics, especially for P. tabuliformis indicated that the mixed afforestation requires further investigation.

Key wordsnormalized sap flow      physiological adjustments      mixed afforestation      Pinus tabuliformis      Hippophae rhamnoides     
Received: 12 November 2017      Published: 07 November 2018
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Cite this article:

Yakun TANG, Xu WU, Yunming CHEN. Sap flow characteristics and physiological adjustments of two dominant tree species in pure and mixed plantations in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(6): 833-849.

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