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Evidence of hydraulic lift in a young beech and oak mixed forest usingO-18 soil water labelling

Abstract : Hydraulic lift (HL) by tree roots in a young, broad-leaved, mixed temperate European forest was investigated during the 2008 growing season by injecting O-18-enriched soil water at a depth of 75-90 cm under drought conditions experimentally imposed in a rain-exclusion system. Based on sap flow, leaf water potential, 2-D root distribution measurements, soil isotope profiles, and xylem water isotope composition, water acquisition and use by two tree species, beech (Fagus sylvatica) and oak (Quercus petraea) was compared. We showed that, unlike oak, beech experienced a marked decrease in sap flow and predawn leaf water potential with increasing soil drought. This behaviour was logical considering the shallower root system in beech than in oak. Six days after O-18-labelling, we observed isotopic enrichment in the shallower soil layers. Since the intermediate soil layers did not display any enrichment, our results clearly pointed to hydraulic lift by tree roots. The superficial enrichment that was observed in the vicinity of oak trunks and the increase in the isotopic signature of xylem sap in the oak trees but not in the beech trees confirmed the predominant role of oak in the hydraulic lift at our site. Even though facilitation for water acquisition among species was not observed here, our results suggest a potential positive contribution of species like oak toward maintaining species diversity in mixed forest ecosystems submitted to severe drought events.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02648578
Contributor : Migration Prodinra <>
Submitted on : Friday, May 29, 2020 - 9:55:28 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 9:44:01 AM

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Marion Zapater, Christian Hossann, Nathalie Bréda, Claude Brechet, Damien Bonal, et al.. Evidence of hydraulic lift in a young beech and oak mixed forest usingO-18 soil water labelling. Trees - Structure and Function, Springer Verlag, 2011, 25 (5), pp.885 - 894. ⟨10.1007/s00468-011-0563-9⟩. ⟨hal-02648578⟩

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